By Beth David, Editor
Fairhaven Board of Health chairperson Peter DeTerra hosted a wedding at his farm in Fairhaven for his daughter on 8/29/20, while restrictions on gatherings were limited to 50 people at outside venues.
On August 11, Governor Charlie Baker ordered that a maximum of 25 people could be gathered in an indoor space, and 50 could be gathered in an outdoor space, both limited to 8 persons per 1,000 square feet. The order specifically includes private homes and back yards, and also specifies “celebrations, social outings, and similar events that draw together groups of people.”
The order authorizes local Boards of Health and local police as the enforcement agents for the order. Violations could result in a civil fine of up to $500 per violation.
In a phone interview, Mr. DeTerra said his daughter was married on that date, but that it was a small wedding, with only 50 people in attendance.
The celebration was held on his farm, partly in a large garage/barn, and partly outside.
“We had a wedding with 50 people. That was our limit at the time,” said Mr. DeTerra, denying reports that more than 100 people were in attendance.
He said it was outside, and they did not shuttle people from their cars. Guests parked on the property.
He denied that the wedding might be part of the reason he wanted to fire the Health Agent, who would be responsible for enforcing the regulations.
“We have an assistant health agent. She could’ve taken the call,” said.
The police were called, and Fairhaven Police spokesperson Lt. Kevin Kobza confirmed that police received an anonymous call at 6:18 p.m. on 8/29, that 100–130 people were gathered at Mr. DeTerra’s farm. He said the police officer observed “at least 30-40 vehicles.”
It was unclear, he said, from the log, how far onto the property the officers went. He said they spoke to the resident, who said his daughter had gotten married that day and there were “about 50 people” there.
Photos on Facebook from various attendees show a wedding party of at least five bridesmaids and grooms.
Posts include congratulations from fellow board member Geoffrey Haworth, who led the way this week in firing Health Agent Mary Freire-Kellogg (see page 7).
Ironically, Mr. Haworth cited Ms. Friere-Kellogg’s alleged lack of following the rules by having chickens on her property without a permit.
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