Viral video shows lack of social distancing, masks in Harvard Square

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A viral Tiktok video, showing what looks to be roughly 30 college-aged people gathered outside a Harvard Square restaurant recently and appearing to mostly flout COVID-19 social-distancing and mask-wearing guidelines, has Cambridge officials concerned.

During a City Council meeting Monday night, Councilor Mark McGovern called what’s shown in the seconds-long clip “disturbing,” noting that he sent the clip to City Manager Louis DePasquale.

In it, someone records as they drive by El Jefe’s Taqueria in Harvard Square. Most of the young adults there appear unmasked with no mask in site. Others do have masks, but some are wearing them under their chins. 

As of early Saturday afternoon, the clip had roughly 161,000 views, over 17,000 likes and over 800 comments.

@mannat.arya

call 👏🏼 people 👏🏼 out 👏🏼. El Jefe in #cambridge #massachusetts #massachusettscheck #pandemicisntover #boston #bostoncorona #MIT #harvard

♬ original sound – Heather Chelan

McGovern noted that on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays there’s typically “a lot more activity” in the city squares. He also said he gets email every day from people reporting others not following COVID-19 safety protocols, and he called for the city to increase measures to enforce COVID-19 safety, whether that’s more signs or ambassadors downtown.

“That video was really, really disturbing to me,” McGovern said.

In response, city manager DePasquale said he sent it to other city officials, noting that the city is “on top of it.”

McGovern also said the city should talk with university officials about pandemic safety.

“I think we need to just step it up a little bit with the enforcement and the education, and make sure folks are doing what we need them to do,” he said.

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