The coronavirus has affected much of daily life in Haverhill, particularly the educational community from kindergarten to college, as schools continue to be closed.
The virus has also halted gatherings at local houses of worship and caused shoppers to clear supermarket shelves of essential items, as residents fear the possibility of being home-bound for long periods.
Restaurants are suffering as Gov. Charlie Baker suspended on-site dining and is allowing only take-out or delivery services.
As local leaders try to prevent the spread of the virus, here is a detailed look at the impact on the community:
Public schools are closed until at least April 6, per the governor's order. Catholic schools are closed for at least two weeks, per order of Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston. All Archdiocese of Boston parish schools and archdiocesan elementary and high schools are closed through March 27. Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School is also closed.
Public schools are using the district's website to post information about learning from home. SAT tests recently scheduled for Haverhill High School students were canceled. Test organizers said additional information will be provided to registered students and test centers. School-related trips have been canceled and officials said they are working to get refunds for students.
Many shelves at local supermarkets have been picked clean by customers stocking up in case they face a quarantine or so they can remain in their homes by choice. In particular, toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer are often sold out, although stores say they are working hard to restock.
Masses are canceled at Catholic churches until further notice.
All high school spring sports are canceled until April 27, per order of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.
The Haverhill and Lawrence campuses of Northern Essex Community College closed on Friday of last week, and this week is spring break. Students are anticipated to return on March 30, although that could change.
All city services have been shifted online, even though City Hall remains open. Mayor James Fiorentini advised residents to use the 311 constituent services phone hotline for urgent matters. Public access to City Hall is restricted. Anyone who must visit City Hall is asked to call 311 and make an appointment. If 311 doesn't work on your cell phone, try 978-358-1311.
The Police Department has suspended various walk-in services until further notice. They involve fingerprinting, VIN checks, records requests and medication drop-off. The public is asked to call or email the Police Department for any records requests. In addition, police will be limiting their face-to-face interactions with the public when possible due to health concerns.
Firefighters and other first responders are using extreme caution on calls due to concerns about possible exposure to the virus.
The popular Cedardale Health and Fitness club is closed through April 16.
Commuter rail service is operating on a reduced service schedule.
Restaurant and bar owners are worried about their future and that of their workers after the governor banned customers from eating and drinking on site. Takeout meals are allowed.
Fiorentini said he's never seen anything like the coronavirus crisis, but that the community is rallying to follow whatever rules are being put in place.
"On Monday night, before the governor's order went into effect, I sent police and the Board of Health to bars and restaurants asking them to limit occupancy to 25,'' Fiorentini said. "They all said yes and were happy to comply. People are nervous, frightened and scared, but are willing to do their part."
Fiorentini said he's been overwhelmed with people asking how they can help.
"Many restaurants are fearful they might not survive as it's a low-margin business, so it's very difficult for them and their employees who live from paycheck to paycheck," he said.
While schools in Haverhill are closed, elementary and middle school students were given three options for learning at home: Packets of materials such as worksheets, writing assignments and math problems were available at each school for parents to pick up; families with internet access can visit the School Department website (haverhill-ps.org) for a list of online learning sites including Google Classroom, Google Meet, STAR Freckle, and MyOn, as well as an online library of 6,000 books. HC Media Channel 99 is showing content-specific videos for kindergarten through grade five that are aligned to state standards. Middle school lessons are on Channel 99 as well.
Consentino Middle School Principal John Mele posted on his school's Facebook page and also emailed parents that counseling services will continue to be available at Consentino through Google Classroom, with details noted in the email and posted on the Facebook page.
While schools are closed, the School Department is offering students and all other children in the city free breakfast and lunch at five locations, an increase from the four locations that were originally designated. All Haverhill children, regardless of age or what school they attend, public or private, will be served, officials said.
Superintendent Margaret Marotta said that each child may take a lunch and a "grab-and-go'' breakfast for the following morning. Meals are offered for pickup weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following locations: Consentino School, 685 Washington St.; Nettle School, 150 Boardman St.; Hunking School, 480 S. Main St.; the Haverhill YMCA, 81 Winter St.; and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill, 55 Emerson St.
Trash pickup is still running as scheduled, Fiorentini said, but residents are advised to stay up to date on any changes through his “Haverhill News” Facebook page. Those who don't use Facebook can visit the city's website, cityofhaverhill.com, under "Departments" and "Trash and Recycling" information.
The American Red Cross reported that as of Tuesday, nearly 2,700 blood drives had been canceled across the country and have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80% of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at locations of this type.
In Massachusetts, 115 blood drives were canceled, resulting in 3,130 fewer blood donations. There are, however, blood drives taking place locally, which you can learn more about online at redcrossblood.org. Enter your zip code in the "Find a Blood Drive" box or in the "Make Your Appointment" box.