SALISBURY – The town Board of Health ordered three popular businesses to close Saturday after efforts to urge customers to maintain "social distancing" didn't work, but one was allowed to reopen Saturday evening.

A statement from the Salisbury Police Department said the Board of Health shut down Tripoli Pizza, Cristy's pizza and Swell Willey's candy and ice cream shop. Police also closed Broadway to through traffic because sunny weather Saturday attracted too many people to Salisbury Beach.

Heather Silvia, owner of Swell Willey's, said after talking with Police Chief Thomas Fowler and ensuring crowds would not gather, her business was allowed to reopen Saturday night and Sunday and is open every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Saturday, Salisbury police had said on Twitter, "This relatively nice weather brought a large amount of people up to the Broadway area. The businesses there tried to do their best, but customers and sightseers were not following the 'social distancing' guidelines that were set forth with the COVID-19 outbreak."

As a result, the Board of Health ordered the businesses closed. The businesses will reopen "when the health director feels that it is safe to do so," police said.

In a statement on the town's website, Health Director John Morris said, "The Salisbury Health Department has determined that group gathering continues to exist in public areas. Therefore, the Salisbury Health Department has requested the assistance of the Salisbury Police Department with informing and enforcing these measures to prevent the transmission of the COVD-19 virus.

Morris cited the order by Gov. Charlie Baker to require social distancing of at least six feet between individuals and the requirement to not gather in groups. Failure to disperse after being told to by police could lead to a fine of $1,000 per day, Morris said. 

"This is a serious matter affecting the health and safety of Salisbury citizens and constitutes a public health nuisance" under state law, he said.

"The main goal is to remain and stay healthy so we can all (get) back to 'business as usual,'" the statement by police said. 

To read the Salisbury Health Department's social distancing order:

Recommended for you