Parties Exceeding COVID-19 Limits Draw Fines, Reminders From Police

An indoor party of about 20 underage youths, who were allegedly not following social distancing and face covering protocols as they gathered in a small inside space, was reported to and broken up by police in Cohasset late Friday night.

Several occupants of the gathering — at which officers say they found open containers — ran away from police into the nearby woods as officers aimed to identify the attendees and contact their parents to pick them up, according to Cohasset police.

Two adults, the owners of the home, were present at the time and assessed with a $500 fine for violating Gov. Charlie Baker’s 10-person limit on indoor gatherings.

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“We can not stress enough the importance of residents, especially our youths, adhering to public health guidance,” Cohasset Police Chief William Quigly said. “All youths should be practicing social distancing and not attending any large gatherings.”

The Cohasset School District was also notified of the event, and began taking steps to protect students and staff from possible exposure to COVID-19.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the country and the Bay State, local police are working to enforce and remind residents of state restrictions. Manchester-by-the-Sea police reminded residents this week of restrictions on gatherings after responding two indoor events last weekend at private homes that violated limits.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker earlier this month reduced the gathering size limit to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, and ordered that gatherings must end by 9:30 p.m. Baker’s order also authorizes local officials to fine hosts $500 per person above the cap, and requires hosts to report known positive COVID-19 cases to their local health department and participate in contact tracing.

Last weekend Manchester police responded to two gatherings that violated the limits, the department said — a pair of separate indoor incidents that involved about 70 people and 25 people, respectively.

“Gov. Baker updated the limitations on private gatherings earlier this month because our state is seeing a rise in cases and it is essential that everyone heeds these updated expectations,” Police Chief Todd Fitzgerald said. “It’s critical that our community continues to take the necessary precautions to keep people safe and healthy amid the ongoing pandemic, and we will continue enforcing this order as needed. We’re urging everyone, please, do the right thing. Keep your gatherings small.”