Haverhill City Council Considers Emergency Law to Fine Groups of 10 or More, Enforce by Police

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The public has opportunities to shape policy this week as various Haverhill boards meet. In the interest of transparency in government, WHAV provides this list of upcoming meetings every week.

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The Haverhill City Council will consider emergency legislation Tuesday night to issue fines of up to $300 for gatherings in excess of 10 people and authorize police to enforce the action.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini submitted the ordinance with a emergency preamble, allowing it to take effect immediately if approved by councilors. It would remain in effect for 30 days or until the mayor lifts his March 19 state of emergency.

“Any group of 10 or more people who shall be ordered to disperse by a police officer and fail to do so immediately shall individually be in violation of the above prohibition, and, shall be punishable by a fine of $50 for a first offense; $100 for a second offense; and $300 for a third and subsequent offense,” a portion of the ordinance reads.

The proposed legislation exempts emergency personnel, those performing emergency services and city employees. It is backed by Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro.

The Haverhill City Council meets remotely at 7 p.m., Tuesday. As a public service, WHAV plans to carry the meeting live over 97.9 WHAV FM and streaming audio at WHAV.net and smart apps such as TuneIn.

The emergency ordinance comes as Haverhill reports a total of 94 COVID-19 cases as of yesterday. The number does not deduct those who have recovered from the virus. The hardest hit age group is 30-39 with 22 cases reported. Two people are listed in the most vulnerable age group of between 80 and 89 years of age.

Haverhill School Committee’s Transportation Subcommittee, chaired by member Richard J. Rosa, is meeting remotely Wednesday, April 8, at 1:30 p.m. The subcommittee is reviewing transportation contracts in light of school closures.

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