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FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham has issued its first $500 COVID fine, according to Framingham Health Director Sam Wong.

SOURCE learned of the first COVID fine through a Freedom of Information Act request to the City’s health department and police department.

The fine was issued to Halstead Apartments at 1610 Worcester Road at 10:52 p.m. on Friday, September 11.

The fine was for hosting a gathering of more than 25 people with no face coverings, wrote the health inspector.

The City of Framingham in a press release on September 14, announced the “Framingham Public Health Department, with support from the City’s Police Department, has begun to levy fines for those violating the Governor’s Order on gatherings to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID violation fines are $500 each.

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The City has said these large gatherings are contributing to Framingham being a high-risk or red community for the transmission of the coronavirus.

Framingham last been a high-risk community since late August, and is one of the just 6 communities in the Commonwealth getting state assistance to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

On August 7, 2020, Governor Baker signed an order which restricts gatherings held on private properties.

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Halstead is allowed to hold a private event on its property, under the state’s regulations and the City’s regulations, but must:

  • Ensure participants of indoor and outdoor gatherings remain at least 6 feet apart from non-household members.
  • Require face coverings for all persons over the age of 2, where more than 10 people from different households will be in attendance (unless they are prevented from wearing a face covering by a medical or disabling condition).

The owners of the aprtment complex were told that “failure to comply with the requirements above may result in further enforcement actions, including
fines up to $500 per violation and legal proceedings,” wrote Health Inspector Derek Kwok.

The $500 fine must be paid within 21 days.

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The management of the apartment building was told to provide residents with the governor’s gatherings rules.

Management was also told to
• Instruct guests to stay home if they are sick or experiencing Covid-19 related symptoms (Covid-19 symptoms may be found

• Discourage activities that involve close contact and shared equipment.

• Restrict guests to the outdoors if possible. If guests need to be inside, then increase ventilation (open windows, fans, etc.).

SOURCE requested a list of all gatherings Framingham Police were called to in August through September 15. Halstead was not on the police list until this incident.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.