Coronavirus Information from the Winchester Board of Health (March 20, 2020)

What is the best way for me to get up to date information on COVID-19?

If you have access to a computer or smartphone with internet here are some helpful resources:

  • Town of Winchester page dedicated to the coronavirus at
  • AARP: They have free resources targeted towards people 65 and older at
  • CDC: Centers for Disease Control has many resources:
  • Massachusetts Government: Includes resources, updated statistics:

If you do not have internet access, you can:

  • Call the Jenks Center at 781-721-7136
  • Dial 2-1-1 for non emergency questions—it's free, confidential and multilingual
  • Contact Town Hall at 781-721-7133
  • Interface Mental Health Referral Service at 888-244-6843. Service will match residents in need with mental health providers based on individual needs. This is a resource for outpatient services, not crisis support. Telephone counseling is possible.

Why are most things closed in Winchester?

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the state government has ordered the closure of restaurants and bars. As of now, you may still order take out food; ordering by phone or online is highly recommended. In Winchester we have our own restrictions to protect our residents due to the high number of cases in this region. This includes "social distancing" and is why businesses like hair and nail salons and gyms can no longer be open during this time.

What is "social distancing"?

Social distancing means remaining 6 feet or more apart from anyone outside of your household. The best way to assess whether or not you should engage in an activity, in any setting, is to ask "Can I maintain a safe distance (at least 6 ft.) from others?" If the answer no, the recommendation is not to do it. The Winchester Health Department Recommends:

  • No in-person socializing outside of immediate household members unless for medical or home health related support. For those with grandchildren, visits are especially not recommended because children may not have symptoms but could be carrying coronavirus and get you sick.
  • When contact required with others for essential purposes (e.g. buying groceries, medicines and necessary supplies) attempt to maintain 6 feet or more apart from others
  • If outside for recreation (like walking or hiking) maintain 6 feet or more apart from others

How else can I protect myself and others from getting sick during this time?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food .
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Is it "safe" to go to the grocery store or pharmacy?

  • If you're over the age of 60 or have a compromised immune system, think about getting your groceries and other necessary supplies delivered or picked up by a family member or friend.
  • Avoid a direct hand-off. Arrange to have the items delivered to your doorstep or a place nearby instead.
  • Tip electronically. One benefit of ordering deliveries online or via an app is that you don't have to hand the delivery person money. Opportunities to tip the delivery person are included in most of the delivery apps and online ordering systems.
  • Order earlier than you usually do. Though it's not a safety issue, you may find that in the midst of higher demand you have to wait longer.

If you need to go to the grocery store

  • Stay 6 feet away from other people. The CDC notes that's generally the distance within which people pick up coronavirus droplets through the air from a cough or sneeze.
  • Take sanitizer with you. Use it on your hands before and after you shop.
  • Use a credit or debit card. That way, you don't have to hand over bills or receive change. Also, use your own pen to sign receipts.

Many stores now have special hours for seniors before the start of their regular opening hours

  • Stop and Shop 695 Main St Winchester: 6-7:30am daily
  • Whole Foods 400 Cambridge Rd, Woburn: 8-9am daily
  • Market Basket 43 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington: 5:30-7am daily

How can I best take care of my Mental Health during this time?

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect remotely with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • If stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row, considering reaching out to a therapist. You can call Interface at 888-244-6843, a service to match residents with mental health providers for outpatient services, not crisis support. Telephone counseling is possible.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure and can include:
  • Fever, cough and shortness of breath

Other symptoms can include:

  • Tiredness, aches, runny nose, sore throat

Call your Primary Care Doctor if your symptoms worsen.
Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing a medical emergency.