BELLOWS FALLS — Acting Bellows Falls Municipal Manager Charles "Chuck" Wise said the recent permit granted to the Westminster Fire Department for a walk through Bellows Falls failed to address the issue of masks.
Wise said he "foolishly" assumed the firefighters participating in the walk commemorating the death of 343 New York City firefighters during the terrorist attacks of 9/11 would all be wearing air packs, which include masks. More than 200 area firefighters participated in the walk, which included two loops through the village area, totaling 3.43 miles, a tribute to the lost firefighters.
"On Aug. 31st, I issued a permit to Westminster Fire to walk 3.43 miles in full gear to include air packs," Wise said Thursday via text. "It never occurred to me to request masks."
He added, "We have had internal discussions about requiring masks when issuing parade permits and will adapt."
Wise said when he got to Bellows Falls the morning of Sept. 12 to watch the walk, he noted that none of the firefighters were wearing masks.
He said this has prompted a review of the village parade permit requirements to reflect Gov. Phil Scott's executive order requiring masks and 6-foot social distancing.
No masks were seen by spectators at the Saturday morning walk, Wise said.