North Brookfield moving forward with Independence Day celebration despite COVID-19

NORTH BROOKFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - While many communities are canceling their Fourth of July celebrations, North Brookfield is moving forward, full steam ahead.

The annual parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. with a ceremony on the common to follow, said Dale Kiley, chairman of the North Brookfield Board of Selectmen on Saturday.

Earlier this year, the town called off its Memorial Day festivities as coronavirus cases continued to increase statewide.

But, with numbers on the decline, Kiley said he sees no issue with allowing the celebration to go on — especially after a Black Lives Matter protest was recently held in town.

“A number of people walked down a sidewalk in town, all on top of each other, and congregated on a small common,” he said. ” It wasn’t in response to the Black Lives Matter. It was pointing out that it’s similar in nature and the health concerns were, are similar.”

Kiley said he and the town’s board of health do not see eye to eye when it comes to the pandemic.

“I think they’re hypocritical on this point because they do nothing to address a number of other areas where people are congregating in North Brookfield,” Kiley said.

A former health board member told 7NEWS the town always follows Gov. Charlie Baker’s guidelines.

Kiley said he thinks the COVID fears are somewhat overblown and that he opposes some of the restrictions.

“Well, I think they’re just arbitrary,” he said. “I think if you can go into a supermarket and touch everything and put it back on the shelf… and you can walk within a couple of feet of other people…You can’t go into a small mom and pop store, but you can go into the big box stores?”

Kiley said other than the board of health, and a few others in town, he has received mostly positive feedback about the celebration.

He said he was only expecting a couple of hundred people to attend but after all the fuss he said the crowd could end up being bigger.

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