Framingham Health Director: Now Is Not The Time To Party; City To Enforce Large Gatherings

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FRAMINGHAM – Twenty-hour hours after the state named the City of Framingham one of the nine communities in the Commonwealth at the highest risk for the coronavirus, the City’s health director said residents should not be hosting or attending any parties, no matter the size.

“If you think about having a backyard party, now is not the time,” said Framingham health Director Sam Wong to the 3-member Framingham Board of Health on Thursday night. “if you think about going to someone’s backyard party, now is not the time.”

Wong said it “does not matter whether you are having a party fitting to the state’s cap on the numbers, it doesn’t matter anymore. Having a party. having a get together with different households is not recommended at this point.”

Wong told the Board of Health his department is working with Framingham Police to “step up enforcement” of these large gatherings.

Wong said some of the City of Framingham’s new COVID-19 cases “are coming due to gatherings.”

Under the State’s August 7 order, indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space.

Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces are limited to 25 percent of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy, with a maximum of 50 people in a single enclosed outdoor space.

Outdoor gatherings in unenclosed spaces are not subject to capacity limitations. 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has also prohibited street festivals, agricultural festivals, walk-a-thons, road races and bike races, and other outdoor, organized athletic or recreational events that gather large numbers of participants or spectators outdoors are prohibited until further notice.

The lone exception “outdoor gatherings for the purpose of political expression.”

Wong said he is “looking to increase our enforcement of gatherings.”

The City’s health director did not state if that meant just breaking up the gatherings and parties, or fines.

Wong also didn’t say what percentage of the new cases were tied to these large gatherings.

“We need to work together as a community to try limit the transmission so we are no longer in the red category,” said Wong to the Board of Health on Thursday night.

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