The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of March 19 to March 26, 2020
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Toy Town Shuts Down to Slow Spread of COVID-19

In a dizzying week of rapidly escalating preventive measures on the federal, state and local levels, Winchendon along with the rest of Massachusetts has instituted rigorous restrictions designed to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus (also referred to as the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2). While Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker has ordered restrictions for three weeks, through April 7, the restrictions may be extended or tightened further depending on the situation at that time.

Read the full texts of Governor Baker's orders on restaurants, public gatherings and schools.

Like all public school systems in the state, the Winchendon Public Schools are closed. Administrative staff are at work, and answering phones and email, but offices are closed to the public. Boxed breakfast and lunch are being provided to all students free of charge, and may be picked up at Toy Town Elementary.

All restaurants and bars are banned from serving customers on premises. Restaurants may still sell takeout meals for pickup or delivery. This affects some Winchendon businesses more than others; some restaurants already were set up for takeout but others were less prepared. Private bars such as the American Legion are also closed.

Small businesses may remain open at their discretion but may not allow more the 25 people at a time inside.

All gatherings of more then 25 people are banned, leading to the broad cancellation of almost all events, meetings, groups, and programs town-wide. Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open. They are taking extra precautions, cleaning through the day and disinfecting surfaces continuously. Customers are asked to maintain distance from each other, cover their faces when coughing or sneezing, and complete their shopping quickly.

Town Hall is closed to the public. Staff are at work and answering phones and emails. The police station and fire station are closed to the public. The transfer station will be open for regular hours.

Below is a list of the COVID-19 arrangements made by town community services, centers, organizations and businesses, as far as the Courier was able to determine as of Thursday, March 19. Changes have been happening quickly and without notice, so call or check the websites or Facebook pages of a business or organization for the most up to date information.

Winchendon Public Schools
All schools closed until at least April 7. A continuously updated page of information may be found here.

There will be no school-related events on or off campus, including sports events.

The school year will not be extended for COVID-19 closings. The last day of school will be June 19.

Online home schooling, learning and study programs are available from the schools and many other sources. A FAQ of detailed information can be found here (the situation may change rapidly so keep checking back).

Town Hall
Closed to the public. Staff is at work and answering phones and emails. Most bills can be paid and applications submitted online. Board and committee meetings are rescheduled or meeting virtually (see individual pages for each Board or committee on the town website). You can watch the a video update by Town Manager Keith Hickey here.

The transfer station is OPEN for regular hours.

The Police Station and Fire Station are fully staffed but closed to walk-in visits by the general public. Call 911 for emergencies only and the business numbers for general questions and calls (Police: 978-297-1212; Fire: 978-297-2324). See each department's Facebook page for ongoing updates and information.

Old Murdock Senior Center
Closed to the public. Staff are at work and delivering lunches to seniors. Contact them if you're a senior and need groceries or medications. 978-297-3155.

Beals Memorial Library
Closed to the public, all programs, events and meetings cancelled through April 7. Staff is at work and answering phones and emails. You can borrow library books and other materials through the Beals website or by calling 978-297-0300. Materials will be distributed at the side entrance.

BealsCon, scheduled for May 16, has been postponed to a later date to be determined.

Clark Memorial YMCA
All programs are cancelled until further notice. The Day Care program is available to working parents this week; whether it can continue after this week will be determined. Check the Clark's website or Facebook page, contact the Clark at 978-297-9622 or see this FAQ (PDF).

Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC)
The building is closed to the public. Staff is at work and answering phones. Food is being distributed curbside. See their Facebook page for updates and information, or call 978-297-1667.

The Dance Center
Studio is closed for classes. There are online virtual dance classes and activities, see their Facebook page for more information.


Christo's Place
Open for take-out only. Free delivery. Offering free lunches to Winchendon public schools students who qualify for free or reduced school lunch, contact them for information. 978-297-1142.

C & S Pizza
Open for take-out only.

Dunkin Donuts
Open for take-out only.

Friends Garden
Open for take-out only, regular hours and menu.

Gabby's Pizza
Open for take-out only. May close early, 8:00 p.m., some days--check their Facebook page.

The Glen Caffe
Closed, but preparing take-out meals for sale at Not Just Produced, 290 Central St., until further notice.

Gourmet Donuts
Open for take-out only. No refills of reusable cups for sanitary reasons.

The Harbour
Open for take-out only, with a select menu: see their Facebook page.

Hometown Cafe
Open for take-out only. Menu posted on their Facebook page.

Little Anthony's & Little Lizzie's
Open for take-out only, pickup at Little Lizzie's ice cream window. Menu and online ordering may be done here.

Ruschioni's Cruisin' 12 Diner
Open for take-out only. See their Facebook page for menus.

Open for take-out only, see Facebook page for hours and ordering information.


Cumberland Farms


Family Dollar

Not Just Produced
OPEN. New and additional inventory.

Rescued Treasures
CLOSED until further notice.


Smith's Country Cheese


The Chapel, The Chapel Downtown
All in-person worship, meetings and gatherings suspended until further notice. Virtual and video services and meetings being arranged--see their Facebook page or website for more information.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
All public mass suspended until further notice; building closed. Church office closed to the public, staff at work and answering phones and emails. The community is encouraged to share streamed televised mass on Contact the office at, Fr. Henry at, or call 978-297-0280.

All events, including Our Neighbor's Kitchen suppers, are cancelled until further notice.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon
Our Neighbor's Kitchen suppers are cancelled until further notice. AA meetings on Monday nights are suspended until further notice. Contact the church via Facebook message with any questions.

United Parish of Winchendon
Worship services, programs and activities suspended until further notice. See their Facebook page for daily videos, Bible readings and prayers.

Winchendon residents are urged to remember the reason for these restrictions and closings: to slow the spread of the virus so hospitals won't be overwhelmed with severe cases, and to protect people at greatest risk of serious complications and death from contracting the virus at all. "Social distancing" means staying at least six feet away from other people at all times, contacting as few other people face to face as possible, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and staying close to home. Virtual meetings, video conferencing platforms, Facetime, Skype, and phones are strongly encouraged to keep people in touch. It's possible to have and spread the virus without having symptoms.

HEAL Winchendon Mobile Market on Friday, March 20

The Mobile Market organized by Growing Places of Leominster will visit two locations in Winchendon on Friday, March 20. The Mobile Market features seasonal fruits and veggies (potatoes, greens, apples, squash, onions, garlic, applesauce, herbs) that can be purchased with SNAP and the MA Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) that doubles SNAP dollars for local fruits and veggies. Anyone who has SNAP qualifies for HIP!

More about the HIP program can be found here:

From 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., the Mobile Market will be at Toy Town Elementary, 175 Grove St.

From 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. the Mobile Market will be at Not Just Produced, 290 Central St.

Market Basket in Rindge Opens for "Seniors Only" Shopping Hours

Market Basket in Rindge, NH will be open from 5:30 to 7:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to customers aged 60 and older ONLY.

"This is designed to enable these members of our community who are at greater risk with the coronavirus to shop in a less crowded environment, which enables social distancing," Market Basket explains. "We ask that you please respect the necessity of a special shopping environment for our most vulnerable neighbors."

The store is open for all customers during its regular hours.

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Final List of Candidates for Town Elections Released

The following candidates submitted nomination papers for open positions on town Boards and Commissions.

ONE 3-year term for the Board of Selectmen: Amy Salter
TWO 3-year terms for the School Committee: Lawrence Murphy
ONE 2-year unexpired term for the School Committee: Greg Vine
TWO 2-year terms for the Board of Health: Brian Croteau

The 3-year School Committee and Board of Health positions with no candidate running for them will be filled by the eligible person receiving the most write-in votes on the ballot.

The Town Elections are scheduled for Monday, May 4 and will be held at the Old Murdock Senior Center, third floor.

Unitarian Universalist Church Vandalized

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Church at 126 Central Street were horrified to find the church the victim of a break-in and destructive vandalism. The crime occurred Sunday night - Monday morning. The perpetrator broke into the building and then into the church sanctuary where he ransacked the rear area of the church, in an apparent search for cash or small valuables. While finding none, he shoved over antique furniture, religious items, and threw the contents of drawers into the pews. Among the damaged valuables were an early 20th century electronic organ from the Estey Organ Company in Brattleboro, Vermont, a partnerís desk with leather top, rope side table, and Queen Ann style chair.

The church has strengthened its security and undertaken repairs, but hopes that anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the early morning hours on Monday to contact the Winchendon Police Department.

damage to UUCW
damage to UUCW

Central Mass Tree

Do You Have a Garden in Winchendon?

You can help the Winchendon HEAL Project bring affordable, whole food back to town by telling us about your garden! Fill out this online survey:

What is the HEAL Winchendon Food Project?

Toy Town FYIs

Outdoor burning season begins on January 15 and runs until May 1. A permit for outdoor burning is required; you can purchase your permit online following the instructions in the link below:
2020 Burn Permit Application Made Easy (Google Doc)

2020 dog licenses are now available in the Town Clerk's office (in Town Hall, 109 Front Street), online (click here), or by mail. You must provide a valid, up-to-date rabies certificate.

Effective December 1

Winter Parking Ban
Town of Winchendon Bylaw
SECTION 7.18; WINTER BAN Parking is prohibited on all public ways between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., annually from December 1st through April 15th. In addition, any vehicle, other than one acting in an emergency, parked, day or night, on any street in the Town, so as to interfere with the work of removing or plowing snow, removing ice, or sanding the street may be removed or towed away under the authority, discretion and direction of the Chief of Police or the Chiefís designee. The registered owner of a motor vehicle which is removed pursuant to this bylaw shall be fully responsible for all charges and expenses incurred for the removal and storage of said motor vehicle.

CENSUS 2020 is coming, we need your participation!

CENSUS 2020 is coming! Your participation is important because your answers make a vital difference. When you respond to a survey or census, you are helping your community and the nation. Your answers, combined with others, become the statistics that businesses, governments and people like you use to make informed decisions about education, emergency preparedness, employment, international trade, health, housing, and other important topics.

More information can be found at:

The US Census Bureau is hiring thousands of people for the 2020 Survey. For more information go to:

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