Provincetown declared a "sewer emergency" Thursday morning, ordering some restaurants and food service businesses in the heart of the seaside town to close.
Town officials said critical repairs must be made to prevent a public health emergency caused by sewer overflows, and estimate the repair work will take 48 hours.
The shutdown applies to properties in downtown Provincetown on Commercial and Bradford streets that use the town's vacuum sewer system.
Businesses on the town's gravity sewer system or those with on-site septic systems will remain open.
Residents in the affected areas are being asked to reduce water use, and flushing toilets only when "absolutely necessary." Public restrooms will be closed Thursday and Friday, and portable restrooms will be made available next to the town hall starting on Thursday morning.
Officials said on Wednesday that thunderstorms had caused electrical issues to the central vacuum station that runs the downtown sewer system, and that repairs were delayed by "larger than normal" wastewater volume.