Updated: Haverhill Mayor Bans Citywide Treat or Treat; Health Board Suspends Most Youth Sports

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Updated: Officials were unclear during and for a time following meetings of the Haverhill Board of Health and Medical Advisory Board Thursday. There is still a question about the timing of a ban on youth sports, for example. Below is an updated consensus on the result.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini says there will be no citywide trick or treat in Haverhill this year after the Haverhill Board of Health advised against the tradition, but stopped short of banning it themselves.

The Board Thursday also cancelled most youth sports and required mask wearing in downtown Haverhill as Haverhill’s number of COVID-19 cases rose again. Members may revisit the matter as questions arose over when the ban would take effect and whether the order applies to private ice skating rinks. Health Board Chairman Peter Carbone said the city’s change of status is driving the actions.

“The city is trending to more and more cases of COVID and this is the reason behind the decision that we’ve made today was because we’re all of a sudden in the red,” Carbone said.

The Board of Health was joined by members of the mayor’s Medical Advisory Board as the two meetings overlapped. Fiorentini and Carbone said individuals who choose to have an event on their own Saturday, Oct. 31 will receive guidance from the Medical Advisory Panel.

“The Board of Health probably could come out and say ‘no trick or treat,’ but we did not say that. We just recommended there be no trick or treat. There was no need for us to say it because that was what the mayor was going to do anyway,” he said.

Carbone noted, however, that since Halloween is a month away, there is still a chance policy will be revaluated down the road.

A three-week ban on youth sports impacts the schools, city recreation leagues, YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club. Members decided two exceptions are high school cross country and golf. They may continue because they are considered low risk. Private bowling alleys and karate also may continue.

The city will reevaluate the ban in three weeks.

Reversing course, the Board also agreed to require face masks be worn in the downtown area. Members, however, agreed again they would not require business owners to enforce the rule, but rather make sure signs are posted and patrons are informed of the rule. Restaurants will be required to take a first name and telephone number from at least one person per dining group for the purpose of virus contact tracing, if necessary.

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