On May 1, 2020, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, issued an order effective 12:01 am, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, requiring individuals to wear masks in public places. This guidance is issued pursuant to that Order to further clarify who is required to wear masks and any exceptions.
Any person who is in a place open to the public in the Commonwealth, when unable to maintain a distance of approximately six feet from every other person, shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering. Masks are required at all times when:
- Inside or waiting in line outside of grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail stores;
- Providing or using the services of any taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing, or similar service;
- On any form of public transit, including train or bus; and
- In an enclosed or semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area.
The use of a mask does not replace important social distancing measures. All individuals must continue to maintain more than 6 feet of distance from other people; wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and stay home when sick.
Children under the age of 2 years should not wear face coverings or masks. For children 2 years of age and older, a mask or face covering should be used, if possible. Mask use by children 2 years of age and up to the age of five is encouraged but should be at the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian at this time. Parents and guardians should ensure that the mask fits snugly and does not obstruct a child’s ability to breathe.
The fit of face coverings should be as follows:
- Fit securely and comfortably against the side of the face;
- Be secured with ties or ear loops;
- Allow for breathing without restriction; and
- Be able to laundered and machine dried without damage or change of shape.
Exceptions for wearing face masks include situations that may inhibit an individual from wearing a face-mask safely. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Those who cannot breathe safely;
- Those who, due to a behavioral health diagnosis, are unable to do so;
- Those communicating with people who rely upon lip-reading;
- Those who require supplemental oxygen to breathe; and
- Those who are exercising outdoors and are able to keep physical distance from others.
Masks and face coverings should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. When possible, masks should be washed in a washing machine. If a washing machine is unavailable, masks should be washed with soap and water and allow drying fully before using again.
Per COVID-19 order No. 31, violations of the masking order shall be punished in the following manner: (a) the first offense shall result in a warning and (b) the second or subsequent offense may result in a civil citation and a fine of up to $300.
For information on how to make your own masks please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/DIY-cloth-face-covering-instructions.pdf