By Beth David, Editor
Fairhaven Board of Health chairperson Peter DeTerra received a letter from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that independently confirms that the wedding held on his property was attended by more than 100 people.
“Upon information and belief, this event did occur on August 29, 2020 at this location and was attended by approximately 150 people,” reads the letter signed by Jana Ferguson, Assistant Commissioner.
The letter reviews the regulations that were in effect at the time, clearly showing that the wedding was in violation of the order. The regulations in the letter include the section on enforcement, noting that it falls to local boards of health, with emphasis on “enforcement” and a note that “some emphasis” was added.
“It is the collective responsibility of all in the Commonwealth to conduct ourselves in a manner which protects the public health and prevents the spread of COVID-19,” reads the letter. “The Department writes to remind you of the Order and to ensure you are aware that its provisions, including the limits on gathering size and requirements for physical distance and the wearing of face coverings, apply equally to gatherings held on private premises that are not otherwise exempted by the terms of the Order.”
Although the letter was sent to the Board of Health, neither Mr. DeTerra, nor the BOH made the letter available to the Neighb News, although it was BOH member Goeffrey Haworth who first alerted the public to the letters in a Facebook post. The Neighb News repeatedly asked Mr. Haworth for a copy of the letter, and he repeatedly said he did not have one.
The Neighb News acquired the letters through a records request with the Mass. Department of labor Standards. The letter to Mr. DeTerra clearly shows that the letter was emailed to the Fairhaven BOH on 10/5/20.
Mr. DeTerra could not be reached for comment on this article. A phone call to his phone was unanswered with no option to leave a message.
The Deparment of Labor Standards also sent a Cease and Desist Order to the band, The Freeze Pops, dated October 2.
“DLS was made aware of a private wedding that was held indoors, where the Respondent performed live music with singing,” reads the order. “This wedding occurred on 8/29/20 in Fairhaven, MA. At the time of the wedding, indoor performances were not allowed. As of the most current standards, indoor singing is not allowed.”
Any further violation may result in a fine of $300. The order also requires the band to submit proof of compliance or a fine may be issued.
The caterer, Pranzi Catering & Events of Providence, RI, received a written warning and order to correct for non-compliance with COVID-19 safety standards.
“The Respondent provided catering services for a wedding on August 29, 2020, that had more than 100 persons seated indoors,” reads the letter. “DLS recognizes that the Respondent was not responsible for the guest list. However, providing services for an occupancy greater than Massachusetts COVID standards allow puts a shared responsibility on your business. DLS will issue a find for subsequent violations.”
The company was required to provide proof of “future compliance” of the standards for a catering business.
As of press time, the Neighb News could not verify if any fine had been issued to either business.*
All three letters are available below:
UPDATE: Public records requests from DPH and DLS that came in after press time confirm that no fines were issued in this matter as of 10/29/20.
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