With triple Boston’s rate of COVID-19 infection and six times the rate of Massachusetts as a whole, Chelsea’s 40,000 residents have experienced far more than their fair share of the pandemic. Chelsea is a close-knit community, so everyone knows someone who has gotten sick, and many know someone who has died. I'm a Jamaica Plain resident Stefanie Shull, and I run the CONNECT economic mobility partnership based at The Neighborhood Developers. CONNECT serves 3,500 people/year, most of whom live in Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Malden, and East Boston. Before the pandemic hit, I was focused on building more robust training and job placement services in the area, to take advantage of the strong economy. As the U.S. outbreak took hold in early March, it was clear that would need to be set aside. Having worked on post-Katrina recovery in Louisiana for three years, I felt like I had some idea of what was coming.
Starting May 6 all Massachusetts residents are required to wear face coverings when unable to social distance. But we all know a lot of people are not wearing them. Lots of us are wearing face coverings all the time once we leave home. Newly-sewn ones, bandanas, sports-themed ones, MacGyver-ed masks, and more. Some folks are wearing them when they can't socially distance.
During this public health emergency, many of us are feeling stressed and anxious. Days are uncertain and our routines have shifted. Many people are working remotely, or have lost their jobs. Students are learning online. Many of our favorite events have been canceled.
During these challenging times, postal employees are working hard to ensure residents stay connected with their world through the mail. Whether it’s medications, a package, a paycheck, benefits or pension check, a bill or letter from a family member, postal workers understand that every piece of mail is important. While service like this is nothing new to us, we need our communities’ help with social distancing. For everyone’s safety, our employees are following the social distancing precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health officials. We are asking people to not approach our carriers to accept delivery.
The coronavirus is a serious public health crisis that is affecting every aspect of life in our city. I know that the changes have been disruptive, and the cancellations have been disappointing. Some working people are losing paychecks, worried about bills, and struggling with childcare. And through it all, many of the people we want to wrap our arms around the most, are the very people we must keep at arm’s length, for their own safety. I want you to know that the city is working around the clock to slow the spread of the virus, keep people healthy, and make sure that our city can return to normal as soon as possible.