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Potvin won't provide scientific basis for event size limitations
Last week when the Board of Health unanimously adopted event attendance restrictions which exceeded state guidance, the Board appeared to arbitrarily consider a range from 50 to 75, without any scientific basis as to virus deterrence efficacy of the proposed limitations.
"I don't think this is a huge change, especially if we put it back to 50, 60 or even 75," Board of Health Chair Barry Potvin said. The new Plymouth event limits are 60 inside and 100 outside. Although the state guidance is 100 inside and 150 outside, even for “red” communities.
Yet since the Board vote last Wednesday, Chairman Potvin has not responded to multiple emails requesting the scientific basis for imposing limits tighter than state guidelines.
In fact, at the meeting last week, Vice Chair Jerry Levine questioned if the Board had enough data to reduce the limits below state guidance. Levine moved to table the event limits until the next meeting, "to collect a little bit more data, on our daily positives, and to see where we are on the red/yellow...by that time we will have more data."
Potvin replied, "if you're not pro-active, you're doomed...we could be getting into a situation with all the variants that are popping up."
The Board did not seem to factor the approximately 50 recent virus cases from the High Point Treatment Center, which contributed to Plymouth's return to "red" community status.
Both Potvin and Levine terms expire this year. Levine ultimately voted for the stricter limits.
Selectwoman Betty Cavacco has called upon the Board of Health to reconsider the limits late last week, "“People with weddings are in a total chaos. How can we reduce numbers for a wedding and have 7500 kids in school. I don’t agree with this!,” Cavacco said.
During the meeting Potvin said he was hearing, "we are all moving just a little too fast in Massachusetts, given that were in the midst of trying to get a lot of people vaccinated." But the guidance that Potvin and the Board overruled is the guidance set forth by Governor Baker and his virus response team, even for so-called "red communities".
The new limits went into effect today and would be reviewed at each Board of Health meeting.