New Regulation Would Give Easton Board of Health Authority to Enact Curfew
The Easton Board of Health is holding a public hearing on Sept. 4 to discuss a regulation that would give it the authority to ban outdoor, nighttime activities because of EEE.
While Easton health officials have strongly urged residents to curtail nighttime activities since the first Eastern-equine-encephalitis-politive mosquito was found last month, there is a newly proposed regulation that could give them more authority.
The Easton Board of Health is holding a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 4 to vote on a regulation that would give it the authority to ban nighttime outdoor activities in public places.
"What this regulation does is it gives the power to the Board of Health to in fact ban outdoor activities when things are reasonable like when you have documented cases of EEE pools in the town or you’re at a "high" status put forth by the state, or - as we're at now - a "critical" status," Easton Health Agent Mark Taylor said.
The hearing will be held on Sept. 4 in order to give proper notice to residents through local media outlets, he said. The state requires at least two weeks of notice for public hearings.
This week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health upgraded the status of Easton and six surrounding towns from "high" to "critical" and announced plans for a second round of aerial spraying.
Officials are aiming to aerial spray in Easton Monday night at approximately 6:48 p.m., according to Taylor.
The DPH reported that 60 percent of mosquitoes were killed during the July 20 round of spraying in Easton and 20 additional towns. That didn't stop positive pools of mammal-biting mosquitoes from turning up, though, Taylor said. In all, 21 positive mammal-biting pools have been identified this year and 11 have been identified since July 20.
"The infection rate within those pools is high," Taylor said. "That’s the problem. It’s not one mosquito out of 1,000. It could be 25-100 mosquitoes out of 1,000."
The Bristol County Mosquito Control Project is in the process of ground spraying at Easton's Public Schools. This week, spraying occurred at Center School and Moreau Hall. Next week, spraying will occur at Oliver Ames High School, Easton Middle School, Olmsted-Richardson and Parkview.
While most of the mosquitoes have been identified in the area of the Hockomock swamp in South Easton, Taylor said the entire town should be on alert.
"Mosquitoes have been tracked to find up to nine miles in a night depending on wind," he said. "Easton is 7.7 miles from any corner to corner."
Click on the attached .pdfs for a look at the proposed regulation and official hearing notice.