New restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, and schools announced

Mar 15, 2020

As Governor Charlie Baker announced aggressive new measures to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on the state, local officials are continuing to raise awareness of the virus and the threat it poses.

Baker announced on Sunday that all schools in the state will be closed until April 7, a measure that was quickly announced on the Dartmouth Public Schools website.

All gatherings of more than 25 people are banned statewide and restaurants can only serve food for take-out or delivery starting Tuesday and continuing through April 17.

Visitors will be banned from all long-term care and nursing home facilities, and hospitals will also restrict and screen visitors. Many patients will be able to access healthcare remotely, and all elective surgeries in hospitals throughout the state will be postponed.

The state will take measures to allow workers affected by the closures to more easily access unemployment benefits. 

YMCA Southcoast announced on its website that per the Governor’s directive, all of its locations would close their doors effective immediately — including the Dartmouth YMCA on Gulf Road. 

Dartmouth Public Schools had previously announced that all elementary and secondary schools would be closed through March 20.

Assistant Superintendent Michelle Roy stated that the schools will be offering courses and materials online through the extended learning platform, available at

Dartmouth Director of Public Health Chris Michaud noted that raising awareness is key to mitigating the spread of the virus.

He listed frequent hand washing, coughing into elbows, and ‘social distancing’ — staying at home and, if going out is necessary, keeping a distance of six feet from others — as simple prevention measures that everyone should follow.

Also important, said Michaud, is being aware of hand-to-face contact, including through indirect means such as smoking.

And no one should be making their own hand sanitizer, he stressed. 

“The use of homemade [sanitizer] is very concerning, because it might not have the right mixture,” he said. “If it’s not blended exactly right, you will give yourself the impression that what you’re doing is reducing risk, but it may not be.”

In any case, he added, hand sanitizer should only be used as an alternative where washing with soap and water is not feasible.

“Don’t substitute it for hand washing,” he said. “Soap and hot water, 20 seconds.”

More information about the virus and guidelines for safety can be found on the town of Dartmouth’s website at