Haverhill police to fine people who violate social distancing rules during coronavirus outbreak

HAVERHILL, MASS. (WHDH) - Police in Haverhill will soon start fining people who violate social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new ordinance adopted by the city.

In late March, Gov. Charlie Baker issued an order prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

Haverhill city councilors recently signed off the “Prohibition of Gatherings of More than 10 People,” which allows local law enforcement to take action if needed to enforce Baker’s order.

“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,” the new ordinance states.

First-time offenders will be slapped with a $50 fine, $100 for a second violation, and $300 for a third mishap.

The ordinance does not prevent more than 10 people from gathering in a public place, as long as everyone is at least six feet apart.

It will go into effect Thursday morning when James J. Fiorentini signs it into law.

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