Police, Recreation Staff Break Up Large Crowd at Haverhill’s Plug Pond as Local Virus Cases Rise

Plug Pond recreation area in Haverhill. (File photograph.)

Haverhill Police and Recreation Department staff were called yesterday to break up a crowd of “50 to 100 people” defying social distancing guidelines in effect at the city’s Plug Pond Recreation area.

In light of the inadvisable gathering, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said barriers were erected to keep people out of the park until after the current health crisis passes.

“There was an awful opt of people congregating together. We can’t have that,” the mayor told WHAV. He said police and recreation staff were particularly concerned about people assembling on the docks.

The mayor said the public has called to report such gatherings. However, in the case of construction projects, building officials haven’t been able to confirm any violations. Construction sites must maintain distances between workers and keep handwashing stations available, among other restrictions.

Yesterday’s scene took place within a backdrop of a new confirmed case of COVID-19 in the city, bringing the total to 56, Fiorentini said. Two are hospitalized—one for preexisting conditions, he said, while noting three patients have recovered and are now out of isolation. He urged residents to remain inside their homes. Methuen reports 63 confirmed cases.

The city cases contribute to 885 in Essex County and 7,738 total in Massachusetts as of yesterday afternoon. To date, 122 have died. Across the border, Rockingham County reports 154 confirmed cases with more than 20 people affected in Salem, N.H.

In related news, Market Basket supermarkets begins limiting the number of people in its stores today. In a statement, the grocery chain said it wants to “to ensure social distancing for customers and associates.”

receiving nearly $93,000 in emergency coronavirus funding. Congresswoman Lori Trahan said she supported the grant for the health center as well as centers in Lowell and Fitchburg.

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