Wave parades get the OK in Adams

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ADAMS — Wave parades are back in town.

After hearing from personnel in both the police and fire departments, town officials have decided to start allowing public safety vehicles to participate in wave parades for children's birthdays, but in a scaled-down fashion. There will be a number of restrictions to cut down on physical closeness amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We've been getting feedback from our first responders — police officers and firefighters — that they really want to do this to help improve the public will and ease the anxieties of the pandemic," said Jay Green, town administrator. "Everyone is stuck at home and can't socialize like human beings, and we recognize that fact."

When the pandemic arrived with the shutdowns and the social distancing, families of youngsters with a birthday coming up lamented their inability to throw a party. In some municipalities, as a gesture to celebrate the start of a youngster's new year, a drive-by parade of police cars and possibly some friends went cruising by the house as the child stood in the front yard and waved to them. The theory was that if everyone stayed in their cars and those on the ground practiced good social distancing, what harm could it be?

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But with humans being social animals, apparently these activities caused some congregating that could potentially be a dangerous opportunity for the COVID-19 virus to spread, so other municipalities, including Adams, were reluctant to allow the activity.

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While some of the bigger towns and cities are sticking with that policy, Adams officials have determined that if certain restrictions are in place, the risk can be minimized. And there is a benefit to the community, Green noted.

"There's still something when a uniformed police officer in a marked police car can make a connection with a local child," he said. "Yes, it's fleeting, but what impact would that have on a child? It's a good way to spread some good will and positive energy."

But if things get out of hand, wave bye-bye to the wave parades.

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In its public notice, town officials wrote, "residents of Adams are reminded however that social distancing and restrictions on groups of more than 10 remain in effect. The town will monitor the response to the parades and if public health is put at risk as a result, it will stop offering the activity."

"It thrills me to see this level of community support and I'm honored to have provided the recommendations to assure a balance of safety and happiness for the residents of the community," said Amalio Jusino, Co-Chair Northern Berkshire Emergency Planning Committee. "I hope all participants follow the guidelines and this heartwarming event keeps a positive smile on every child's face during this difficult time."

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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