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Select Board Declares State of Emergency

Explanation & Rationale For Assuming Emergency Powers
After taking emergency action, the Select Board released a formal Declaration of Emergency dated March 16 and signed by Alison Manugian, chair of the Groton Select Board, justifying and explaining the rationale for the Board assuming emergency powers.
     The declaration states that the Select Board in consultation with the State Department of Public Health determined that the Coronavirus outbreak ‘presents a major disaster’ which poses an immediate threat to public health, safety, and general welfare of people in Groton.
     The Declaration says that the Board has determined that immediate public action is needed in order to prevent or minimize the spread of the Coronavirus to protect the health and welfare of the people of Groton and, “[It] is critical to take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of the people of the Town of Groton.”
     The Select Board further explains their decision saying, “(D)eclaring a state of emergency will facilitate and expedite the use of resources to protect persons from the impacts of COVID-19, including but not limited to emergency expenditures pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 44, Section 31 and limitations on operating hours and access to public buildings.”
Explaining the need for declaring a state of emergency, the document notes that Governor Charlie Baker declared a state-wide state of emergency on March 11, followed on March 13 by the President of the United States announcing a declaration of emergency.
     It also says that on March 15, 2020, Governor Baker announced emergency actions to respond to the evolving Coronavirus public health emergency impacting the Commonwealth, including prohibitions on public gatherings of 25 or more people and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants from March 17, 2020 until April 6, 2020, as well as suspension of elementary and secondary school educational operations from March 17, 2020 until April 6, 2020.
     The Select Board’s declaration of emergency says it will ‘remain in effect until further notice is given,’ when the conditions leading to this declaration no longer exist, in the judgment of the Board.
     Here is the full text of the Emergency Declaration:
 
EMERGENCY DECLARATION
TOWN OF GROTON, MASSACHUSETTS
WHEREAS, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious and potentially fatal respiratory disease, the prevalence of which is increasing rapidly throughout the world, inclusive of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and
     WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization designated the COVID-19 outbreak a Pandemic Health Emergency; and
     WHEREAS, on March 10, 2020, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency to Respond to COVID-19; and
     WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States announced a national declaration of emergency; and
     WHEREAS, on March 15, 2020, Governor Baker announced emergency actions to respond to the evolving COVID-19 public health emergency impacting the Commonwealth, including prohibitions on public gatherings of twenty-five or more people and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants from March 17, 2020 until April 6, 2020, as well as suspension of elementary and secondary school educational operations from March 17, 2020 until April 6, 2020; and
     WHEREAS, the Select Board of the Town of Groton, in consultation with the State Department of Public Health has determined that COVID-19 presents a major disaster which poses an immediate threat to public health, safety, and general welfare of people residing both within and outside of the Town of Groton; and
     WHEREAS, the Select Board of the Town of Groton has determined that immediate public action is needed in order to prevent or minimize the spread of COVID-19 by and among the people of the Town of Groton; and
     WHEREAS, it is critical to take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of the people of the Town of Groton; and
     WHEREAS, declaring a state of emergency will facilitate and expedite the use of resources to protect persons from the impacts of COVID-19, including but not limited to emergency expenditures pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 44, Section 31 and limitations on operating hours and access to public buildings; and
     WHEREAS, the Town Manager of the Town of Groton recommended that a state of emergency be declared in the Town of Groton.
     NOW THEREFORE, we, the Select Board of the Town of Groton, Massachusetts, hereby declare that as of Friday, March 13, 2020, a state of emergency exists in the Town of Groton. This declaration of emergency shall rememergency shall remain in effect until further notice is given, pursuant to our judgment that the conditions leading to this declaration no longer exist.
Date: March 16, 2020
Alison S. Manugian
Chair, Groton Select Board
 
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