The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of April 2 to April 9, 2020
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Gov. Baker Extends COVID-19 Restrictions Until May 4

Massachusetts Cases Predicted to Peak Between April 7 and April 17

On Tuesday, March 31, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker extended the stringent restrictions intended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus for another month, until May 4. The initial expiration date for the restrictions on non-essential businesses and public assembly had been April 7. Now all restrictions will be enforced through the month of April.

No other changes are being made in the restrictions, which order all non-essential business locations closed to both employees and the general public, and bans more than ten persons assembling in a public space at more than one time. (More than ten people may be inside a large supermarket or big box store, but some stores are setting limits on the number of customers allowed in at one time.)

Businesses and organizations which can continue operating remotely, without employees or the public being together in a physical location, are encouraged to utilize all creative methods they can to stay open and active. Online meeting platforms, phone sales, social media and email can all be used to conduct business and stay in touch with customers and staff. Businesses which can be run by a single individual, or which are run from the owner's home, are also exempt.

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. (An updated list and explanation of essential services may be read here.)

Massachusetts residents remain under a stay-at-home advisory.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.

The number of cases statewide continues to increase at an exponential rate. The Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, April 2, there were 8,966 confirmed cases in Massachusetts, with 154 fatalities. This is an increase of 6,549 confirmed cases and 129 fatalities in one week. There have been multiple fatalities at long-term care facilities and two deaths of people in their early 30s.

Heywood Healthcare in Gardner announced their first COVID-19-related death of a patient on Wednesday, April 1. They did not release any information about the patient. There are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Heywood currently; three of them are in ICU.

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, April 2. 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, as well as bags of groceries. The Center is also delivering loaner books and jigsaw puzzles 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. Note temporary new hours: Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. & Fri-Sat-Sun 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Pay-by-phone, curbside pickup and free delivery available. Continuing to offer free bagged lunches to Winchendon public schools students who qualify for free or reduced school lunch--message them on Facebook in the morning to reserve a lunch. Christo's family and staff ask that as few people as possible come inside the store to pick up orders, to help keep everyone safer. 978-297-1142.

C & S Pizza
Open for take-out only. 978-297-2202.

Dunkin Donuts
Open for take-out only.

Friends Garden
Open for take-out only, regular hours and menu. 978-297-2277.

Gabby's Pizza
Open for take-out only. New temporary hours, Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Occasionally close earlier. Offering "make your own pizza" kits: pound of fresh dough, pound of cheese and 1 oz of sauce, enjoy baking pizza with your kids! 978-297-3909.

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 and drive-through only. No refills of reusable cups for sanitary reasons. You can call ahead with your order and it will be ready to pickup. 978-297-9700

The Harbour Sports Bar
CLOSED until further notice.

Hometown Cafe
Open for take-out only. Menu, including daily specials, posted on their Facebook page. 978-297-2233.

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. Local delivery available. 978-297-2669, 978-297-1880.

Ruschioni's Cruisin' 12 Diner
Open for take-out only. See their Facebook page for daily menus and specials. Grocery food (cheese, butter, bread, etc) available to order, cash only, delivery available. List with prices on their Facebook page. 978-616-8956.

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


Belletetes Winchendon
As an essential business, Belletetes Winchendon is open to customers but asks that you place orders for curbside pickup, or delivery, if at all possible. The new email address for ordering is Reduced hours, closed Sundays. For details, see the most recent customer update (March 27) on their Facebook page.

Cumberland Farms


Family Dollar

Not Just Produced
OPEN. New and additional inventory. Hosting the Winchendon Mobile Market on Fridays, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Packaged meals ready-to-go prepared by the Glen Caffe. Only ten customers can be inside the store at one time. 978-413-8518.


Smith's Country Cheese
OPEN. Call for curbside pickup. 978-939-5738.


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 Board of Selectmen Vote to Postpone Town Elections and Annual Town Meeting

At their meeting on March 30, held via the online platform Zoom, the Winchendon Board of Selectmen voted to postpone the Town Elections and the 2020 Annual Town Meeting, which was scheduled for May 18.

Town Manager Keith Hickey said that his ideal dates for the elections and Town Meeting would be Monday June 15, and Monday June 29, respectively. This would allow both to be held before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. State law allows Town Meeting to be held up to sixty days after the end of the fiscal year, so a later date is possible should the COVID-19 situation still preclude public assembly. Town Meeting would have to take place by August 31, 2020 at the latest. Mr. Hickey noted that the town elections don't have to be two weeks before Annual Town Meeting; that has simply been the town's custom up to now.

If Town Meeting was not held before June 30, the town would enter the new fiscal year working with what is called a "one twelfth budget" until the new budget can be passed. All town functions would continue normally.

Resident Guy Corbosiero asked if the warrant would close on the same date even if Town Meeting itself was postponed. Mr. Hickey replied that the warrant would close on the same date, unless the Board of Selectmen specifically moved to change that deadline as well.

The Board of Selectmen voted to authorize Mr. Hickey to request authorization from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to postpone Annual Town Meeting, without deciding on a definite date at this time.

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.

Make DIY Cloth Face Masks

Many people are sewing cloth face masks for themselves and for health care workers. There is even a Facebook group supporting this effort, Mask Makers.

There are a number of patterns available on the Internet. The Courier is sharing the PDF pattern below, which includes templates and clear, photograph-illustrated sewing directions, for the convenience of our readers. The pattern is being distributed by Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH and may be copied and shared freely.

The CDC may be issuing a nationwide advisory asking people to wear face masks at all times when out in public. COVID-19 is spread primarily through the air, and infected persons are the most contagious before they have any symptoms. It's estimated that as many as 25 percent of infected persons may never show symptoms or get sick, but still are able to infect others. Wearing face masks will significantly reduce the chances of infected people spreading the virus.

Face Mask Pattern and Directions (PDF)

Woman Reports Alarming Encounter at Lake Dennison

A Templeton woman went on social media to describe an alarming encounter she had with an unidentified man who exposed himself to her while she was running on the trails at the Lake Dennison Recreational Area in Winchendon.

Rachael Messina wrote that on Saturday, March 28, she had been running on the trails around Lake Dennison and stopped to stretch a cramp in one of her legs. She reported that a man got out of a parked pickup truck near her, greeted her, walked into the woods, and re-emerged with his pants pushed down below his hips and his genitals exposed. Approaching Ms. Messina, he asked her if she knew how far it was to the boat ramp.

Ms. Messina fled the scene. When she reached the boat ramp, she met other local people using the park, one of whom called the Winchendon Police. Police responded but found no sign of the man or the truck.

Ms. Messina described the man as tall (she estimated 6' to 6'3"), thin, bald, blue eyed, with no facial hair, a thin nose and reddened skin as though he was flushed or sunburned. He was wearing a loose red sweatshirt, blue jeans and unlaced work boots. The truck was new, dark colored, with a tool box in the bed and large side view mirrors.

Ms. Messina reported that she went through the sex offender registry books for Winchendon and Templeton but did not recognize the man she saw among any of the photos.

As the story circulated on social media, some local residents who are familiar with the Lake Dennison area raised questions about details of Ms. Messina's story, including inconsistencies between her initial social media posts and the story she related to The Gardner News. Lt. Kevin Wolsky of the Winchendon Police Department told The Gardner News that he could not remember the last time they had such a call from the Lake Dennison area.

The incident is under investigation by the Winchendon Police Department. Anyone with any information about the incident is urged to contact Detective Alan Ross at 978-297-1212 ext. 130 or email The Courier will report on any updates to the case.

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 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.

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