FRAMINGHAM – After not issuing a COVID fine since January 15, the City of Framingham issued $300 fines to two Framingham Public School employees on April 14.
City of Framingham health inspector Camille Griffin issued a $300 fine to the Framingham High School athletic director Paul Spear and a $300 fine to Framingham high boys ice hockey coach Will Ortiz, both Framingham Public School employees, for violating the City of Framingham’s COVID orders.
Through March 31, the City of Framingham had issued just one COVID fine, according to a spreadsheet provided to the news media outlet by the Framingham Health Department through a public records request.
“We have identified the Activity Organizers as the FHS Athletics Director and FHS Varsity Boys Ice Hockey Head Coach. Framingham High School was listed as renting the ice at Loring Arena. This was not an MIAA league game. FHS organized this event and invited Xaverian Brothers High School to play in this game,” wrote the health inspector in the certified letter to the two individuals, ccing Framingham Public Schools Superintendent Bob Tremblay.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of the winter sports teams had exhibit games, as during the traditional winter season of November to February Framingham Public Schools was remote and no athletics was occuring.
When the district went to a hybrid model in February, it was announced that the school would participate in the MIAA Fall II season for fall sports but as the winter season was over, some sports had shorten seasons, and some sports like basketball chose to have a spring season, which starts at the end of April. Other sports like wrestling have had no season this far.
Spear had said repeatedly in 2021, he wanted to have at least one game for each of the high school sports to allow the seniors to conclude their athletic careers and for the students to have some time with their teams. The athletic director said it was about participation and sportsmanship and not whether the teams won or lost games.
“During the investigation following this event, the Framingham COVID team received a photo of the FHS team posing for a photograph that included several players not wearing a face covering,” wrote the City of Framingham Health Director.
“This is a violation of Order No. 66,” wrote City of Framingham Health inspector Griffin to the Framingham Public School employees. “Ice Hockey is characterized as a “higher risk” sport according to the Youth &Adult Amateur Sports Activities — Phase IV, Step 1 guidance issued by the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). This sports guidance, pursuant to COVID-19 Order No. 66, requires “Activity Organizers” to ensure all participants wear face coverings during all active play and while on the bench, in team huddles and during time-outs.”
The photo in question was a photo of the Flyers on the rink just before the national anthem at the start of the game published by the daily newspaper (see below)
Many hockey players attach their masks to their helmets, during the pandemic. When the national anthem is playing, many hockey players remove their helmets like individuals who remove their hats.
Editor’s Note: SOURCE was at the game and photographed the final game of the season. The players wore their masks during the game, and the coaches had their masks on while on the bench. After the game, SOURCE conducted interviews and the coaches and players still wore their masks.
City of Framingham & COVID Fines
The City began issuing COVID violation fines in September 2020.
Fines were for exceeding the gathering orders or for not wearing face coverings.
The City of Framingham issued its first fine on September 11 to Halstead apartments on Route 9, for a violation of the Governor’s COVID gathering orders. That fine has yet to be paid.
The second $500 fine was issued a couple of weeks later to the owner of Cotton Candy Party Production, after police were called to a Concord Street apartment building, where after-hour parties were taking place n the basement with DJ, alcohol, and few wearing masks.
The City said it has not been able to deliver the fine. A Public record request shows the City listed the fine as “undeliverable,” as of April 16.
The City has issued 27 total COVID violation fines, through March 31, with only a handful paid as of April 16, 2021.
The fines total about $39,000 but only about $7,000 to $7,500 has been paid as of April 16, 2021.
Besides the two fines issued on April 14 to Framingham Public Schools employees, only one fine was issued for a COVID order violation through March 31.