NEW BEDFORD — Mayor Jon Mitchell has announced that city facilities will be closed to public access, beginning Tuesday, March 17, through at least Sunday, March 22.

With the growing threat posed by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the city government has begun to shift to a mode of service delivery that minimizes face-to-face interaction. While facilities are closed to the public, city employees will still report to work and will be available to address the public’s needs by phone or email.

The city agencies are arranging for employees to work remotely where feasible. This order applies to the New Bedford Public Library branches and the Buttonwood Park Zoo. The New Bedford Regional Airport will remain open, with restrictions on ordinary public access. In addition, public and private events at City facilities have been canceled or postponed through April 12.

Later this week, the city will make further announcements about limitations to public access to city facilities after March 22. Last week, the city announced that senior centers were closed until further notice. The New Bedford Public Schools are closed through at least April 7.

“The restrictions announced today are necessary and appropriate measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Greater New Bedford,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “I am committed to providing the same responsive city government our residents expect and deserve, but I ask for their understanding and cooperation as the city government begins to rely more on remote communication. Likewise, I again strongly urge everyone in our city and region to limit unnecessary person-to-person interaction and observe strict personal hygiene.”

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