The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of March 26 to April 2, 2020
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Governor Baker Doubles Down on COVID-19, All "Non-essential" Businesses in State Ordered Closed

Schools, Day Care Centers Closed through May 4

On Monday, March 23, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker issued an order strengthening the restrictions already in place statewide to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All businesses not providing COVID-19 Essential Services were ordered to close their physical premises to the public, staff and employees. Businesses and organizations that could continue to operate via remote means (employees working and networking from home, customers or clients served over phone or internet) were encouraged to continue doing so.

Essential businesses include those handling health care, law enforcement, public safety, food production and distribution, energy, waste and wastewater, transportation, public works, communications and information technology, community and government operations and essential functions, critical manufacturing, hazardous materials, financial services, chemicals and defense. (Read the full list and explanation of essential services here.)

The order also reduced the maximum number of people allowed to congregate in an indoor space to ten (10), down from the previous restriction of 25. This limit does not apply to people in an outdoor space. However, congregating in outside spaces is discouraged, and people should maintain a minimum distance of six feet from each other, both indoors and outside.

Governor Baker also directed the Department of Public Health to issue a stay at home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing procedures. This means that persons should stay at home and refrain from all unnecessary travel and activities that involve physical proximity to other people. Persons over 70, or who have health conditions that increase the danger of a serious respiratory illness should limit in-person social interactions with other people as much as possible.

"I do not believe I can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their homes for days on end," Gov. Baker said, explaining why he did not give a shelter-in-place order like those in California or New York City.

The order went into effect at noon on Tuesday, March 24 and continues for two weeks, until April 7.

In Winchendon, this meant that businesses which had been staying open while limiting numbers of people on their premises, and/or following social distancing and sanitation protocols, were now forced to close entirely. These include barber shops, offices, some retail stores and small manufacturers.

On Thursday, March 26, Governor Baker extended the order closing all public and private schools and day care centers in Massachusetts an additional month, until May 4. Previously, they had been ordered to close until April 6. This order also required grocery stores to set aside hours exclusively for elderly and other high risk persons to shop.

Despite measures taken to prevent social interaction and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the number of cases statewide continues to increase at an exponential rate. The Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, March 26, there were 2,417 confirmed cases in Massachusetts, with 25 fatalities.

On Thursday, March 26, Governor Baker submitted a request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts. If approved, this would make Massachusetts eligible for additional federal assistance, including assistance from FEMA's Public Assistance and Individual Assistance Programs, which provide financial aid, unemployment assistance and crisis counseling.

Below is an updated 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 26. Changes have been happening very 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.

All restaurants and bars are still banned from serving customers on premises. Restaurants may sell takeout meals for pickup or delivery. Retail stores selling food, liquor stores and pharmacies are open, but are restricted to a maximum number of 10 customers at a time. Customers must stay at least six feet away from each other. Some stores have marked their floors with tape or signs to keep people in line at the correct distance (so remember to look down).

Winchendon Public Schools
All schools closed until at least May 4. 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. Most staff has been sent home, but are responding to emails and phone calls (expect a delay). Most bills can be paid and applications submitted online, and payments can be dropped off in the dropbox by the Front Street entrance to the building. 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. Residents using the transfer station should complete their visit quickly and maintain a six-foot distance from each other and from attendants.

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 has been sent home for the next two weeks for their safety. You can borrow library e-resources through the Beals website. (If you have a library card, you can use the Libby app to borrow ebooks via your cell phone.) Library materials can be returned in the outside drop box. Overdue fines are waived for the time being.

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, including regular after school programs and day care. The Emergency Child Care program for grades K-5 is available to families of essential workers, and families at risk who lack other options. See below for more details. Email Kyle Scrivines at with questions.

Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC)
The building is closed to the public. Staff is at work and answering phones. Food, and some other supplies as available (for example, diapers) are being distributed curbside by appointment only--call to set up a pickup time. Their new hours for distributing food and other supplies are Monday through Thursday, 12:00-3:00 p.m. 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.


Belletetes Winchendon
Store closed to customers but open for sales. Call or text an order, payment by credit card or store account only. Pickup at door or by delivery. Reduced hours, closed Sundays. For details, see the update on their Facebook page.

Cumberland Farms


Family Dollar

Not Just Produced
OPEN. New and additional inventory. Hosting the Winchendon Mobile Market on Fridays.


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.

HEAL Winchendon Mobile Market Announces New Hours

The Mobile Market organized by Growing Places of Leominster will set up at (or outside of, depending on the weather) Not Just Produced, 290 Central Street, Winchendon, every Friday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

The Mobile Market features seasonal fruits and veggies (potatoes, greens, apples, squash, onions, garlic, applesauce, herbs) that can be purchased with cash, credit/debit card, or SNAP cards. Mobile Market purchases qualify for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) which doubles SNAP benefits for qualifying purchases. If you have SNAP, you automatically have HIP benefits for purchasing healthy food options.

More about the HIP program can be found here:

As food vendors, the Mobile Market and Not Just Produced are essential businesses and will remain open under all COVID-19 regulations. Shoppers are asked to respect and follow all social distancing and safety guidelines, including staying six feet away from other shoppers. No more than ten (10) people may be inside Not Just Produced at one time.

Planned long before COVID-19 made its appearance, the Mobile Market "launched" ahead of schedule on Friday, March 20. Several dozen Winchendon residents visited the Market, purchasing sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, locally grown garlic and other produce and locally made food products.

Winchendon Mobile Market
The Winchendon Mobile Market debuts at Not Just Produced on March 20 (indoors because of poor weather)
Photo credit: Inanna Arthen

Clark Memorial YMCA Offers Emergency Child Care for Grades K-5 for Eligible Families

Clark Memorial YMCA will be hosting an Emergency Child Care site, beginning Monday, March 23. This program is to support essential workers and vulnerable families that have no other option for childcare services.

Examples of essential workers and vulnerable families include but are not limited to: health care workers (including essential support functions), essential state and human service workers, COVID-19 health workers, grocery store employees, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, transportation and infrastructure workers, sanitation workers, DCF involved families, and families living in shelters.

Emergency Child Care will be available Monday – Friday from 6:30 AM – 6:00 PM. This is a drop-in program, with no preregistration required. However, please leave a little time while dropping off on first day to fill out a brief information form. If your child will be in the program during lunch hours, please be sure to pack a lunch for your child. The program will be held at the Y Youth Center (enter Y parking lot from Summer St, follow driveway to end; Youth Center last building on right.)

Please direct any questions to Kyle Scrivines at

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

If You Call for Emergency Services...

...the Winchendon Fire Department asks that you let the dispatcher know if you have flu-like symptoms, are quarantined or are under self-quarantine. This will allow the first responders to take all necessary precautions to avoiding spreading COVID-19 and to protect themselves and you.

Stone-Ladeau Arranges Virtual Participation for Funerals and Memorial Services During COVID-19 Restrictions

Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home is offering free Webcasting of all funerals held in their facility during the COVID-19 crisis. Funeral director and owner Douglas M. Stone has offered webcasting for 10 years and has noticed a large increase in this service during this time of a National and State emergency. With crowds being limited to fifteen people for gatherings, Doug has found this to a perfect time to offer this service. The funeral home has a camcorder, which is set up in the funeral home and live webcam can be sent to any individual, who cannot attend the funeral service.

Individuals, who wish to take advantage of this service, need only to provide the funeral home with their email address. About one hour before the service, those individuals will receive a link from the funeral home. By simply checking the link, individuals can watch the funeral in the safety of their home.

A family owned business, Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home is the only funeral home in Winchendon and is proud to offer this free public service. Condolences can also be sent to each grieving family, who can access them through the funeral home website.

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?

"Plummeting Paul" Plummets into Lake Monomonac

In a tactic to avoid COVID-19 not recommended by the Board of Health, Paul, the Winchendon Spring Lake Association's ice-fishing mannikin, dropped through the ice and into the drink on March 13 at 4:16 p.m.

"Plummeting Paul" is the featured player in the WSLA's annual "Ice Out" fundraising contest, whereby contestants buy tickets for their best guess as to when Paul will plummet in the spring. He is placed out on the ice during the winter and patiently endures snow, sleet and Polar Vortices until the ice beneath him melts.

The contestant whose guess is closest to the time of Paul's bracing plunge wins one half of the pot. All remaining proceeds go to benefit the WSLA, which pays for weed control and other maintenance on Lake Monomonac. Congratulations to Lisa Dubreuil for guessing the unusually early "ice out" date!

Winchendon Mobile Market
Paul pre-plummet
Photo credit: WSLA

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 Chief’s 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.

Enjoying the new Winchendon Courier Online? We're just getting started! But wow, is this a lot of work. The best work in the world, but still a lot of it! Please consider supporting us with a small donation. We'd so appreciate it. Thanks!