Taking additional steps to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, cities and towns across the state are beginning to issue their own emergency orders making face coverings mandatory in public spaces.
In mid-April, Gov. Charlie Baker made a similar announcement, introducing an advisory that recommended all residents wear a mask or face covering in public when social distancing is not possible, but it hasn’t been compulsory.
Mayor Marty Walsh said in an interview with WBUR that while Boston hasn’t issued a mandate yet, there may be one to come after talking with neighboring mayors.
“We’re looking at it,” he told the radio station, noting how he’s been hesitant to enforce “something that’s complete common sense in covering your face and taking care of yourself.”
Walsh told WBUR that he’ll be asking the mayors of Cambridge and Somerville how they plan on enforcing their new regulations, but added that Boston shouldn’t have to potentially fine people for not being safe.
<h2>Baker says people should wear masks when they go out</h2>
Many cities and towns have noted that while they may issue penalties for not wearing a mask, fines are a last resort.
Below, see a rundown of which Massachusetts municipalities are mandating facial coverings in public.
The Arlington Board of Health will meet next week to review and adopt regulations requiring all residents aged 5 and older to wear cloth face coverings in public.
“Until the Board of Health adopts a regulation, the Town asks residents to wear face coverings in public to help with slowing the transmission of this virus,” officials said in an update to the public Tuesday.
The current advisory applies when in any public indoor or outdoor space, though exceptions will be made for people with certain medical conditions and parents trying to keep masks on young children.
Town officials said joggers and cyclists will also be required to cover their face under the advisory.
The Bellingham Board of Health requires everyone over the age of 5 to wear a mask when entering any public building, using public transportation, taxis or ride shares, and when in a confined or enclosed facility.
This mandate was effective as of 6 a.m., Monday.
All essential businesses are also required to post signs notifying people that they need to wear a mask when entering the store.
Anyone without a mask is subject to arrest and civil or criminal prosecution.
As of Monday, masks are required for anyone over the age of 2 when entering an essential business.
The temporary emergency regulation will remain in effect until further notice, according to the Belmont Board of Health and the Belmont Select Board.
With a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Board of Health approved an order that requires all residents and essential workers to cover their face in public spaces.
Anyone who violates the order will be given two warnings before being charged a $300 fine, according to Town Manager John Curran.
Mayor Charles Kokoros and Health Director Marybeth McGrath issued an emergency order that requires residents to wear face coverings when entering any essential business.
Employees of all essential businesses are also required to wear face coverings during business hours.
Face coverings will be required for anyone entering or exiting any residential or commercial building complex with more than one unit.
“The face coverings are recommended to be a fabric mask, scarf or bandana, and should not be an N-95 mask as those are needed by our medical professionals and first responders,” Braintree officials said in a public update. “Residents are also reminded that they should only be leaving home to purchase essentials or to get to essential jobs.”
As of April 17, everyone aged 2 and older is required to wear a face covering in public.
Anyone without a mask could be fined $50.
The City of Cambridge issued an emergency order requiring people to wear face coverings in all public places, businesses and common areas of residential buildings.
Effective Wednesday, the order applies to everyone over 5 years old.
City officials said the mandate comes with a one-week grace period to provide time for residents to comply, but after that, violations may be punishable by a $300 fine.
“While we are grateful to those in Cambridge who have been heeding our previous mask advisory and taking this issue seriously, we are concerned about the number of residents who continue to shop, walk, run and bike throughout the city without proper face coverings,” Mayor Siddiqui and City Manager DePasquale said in a joint statement.
“We must all do our part in flattening the curve and make sure we are preventing the further spread of COVID-19,” the statement read. “This mandate emphasizes the importance of wearing a face covering, not as an option, but as a requirement in our effort to combat this pandemic together.”
They said this new order is to “protect our residents – not punish them,” noting that police will focus on educating the public whenever they encounter someone without a mask.
Cambridge also announced a new initiative to distribute thousands of face masks throughout the community beginning Thursday.
Police will distribute masks to residents on a first-come, first-served basis at all Cambridge Public Schools meal distribution sites, a Tobin Elementary School drive-through site, a Kennedy-Longfellow Elementary School drive-through site, and in a dispenser outside the Cambridge Police Department.
Officers will also distribute masks during their patrols.
“As a City and Police Department, our goal during the order is to make masks and prevention information available to as many residents in need as possible,” Police Commissioner Branville Bard, Jr. said in a statement. “The priority for our police officers is to not issue fines, but rather to make residents aware of the importance of wearing a face mask and provide them one if needed.”
<h2>How to make a mask without sewing</h2>
As of April 27, all essential employees and customers are required to wear a facial covering at all times in a business.
The employer of each business will also be required to provide a cloth mask or other covering to all their employees.
Those under 2 years old are not required to wear a mask.
“A cloth mask, a scarf, or even using a handkerchief to cover your nose and mouth would be most beneficial to both you and those around you,” Mayor John Vieau said in a statement. “If you are a business leader, you are helping to limit the spread of the virus by complying with this order. This order will help keep you safe as well as those around you.”
As of April 24, cloth face coverings are required when entering an essential business, picking up or delivering food, and when coming and going from residential or commercial building complexes with more than one unit.
The Essex Board of Health said violations may be punishable by a $300 fine.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria adopted an order on April 20 that requires everyone over the age of 5 to wear a mask when entering any building open to the public, using public transportation, taxis or ride shares, and pumping gas.
The mandate states that all essential businesses must also post signage requiring masks upon entry and can refuse service for noncompliance. Anyone who enters a store without a face covering is subject to arrest and civil or criminal prosecution.
As of Thursday, all Falmouth employees and essential business customers over the age of 2 are required to wear face coverings.
The mandate also applies to anyone entering residential multi-family complexes with common entryways and exits.
While town officials said the order does not apply to voters entering polling places during an election, all voters are “strongly encouraged to wear a cloth face covering.”
Anyone over the age of 2 is required to wear a mask when entering an essential business, multi-unit residence or commercial building.
The order went into effect on April 17.
Starting 6 a.m., Wednesday, anyone over the age of 5 caught in public spaces without a mask could face a $300 fine.
Essential businesses are also asked to make sure their staff comply with the regulations and wear masks while working.
On April 11, Mayor Thomas McGee announced an order making it mandatory for all residents to wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when entering any essential service business, communal spaces of a residential or commercial building complex, or when unable to social distance in public.
“These orders will ensure that the entire community can achieve the maximum amount of social distancing, while continuing to provide and receive essential services, and ultimately slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent that we can,” he said in a statement. “By taking these measures now, we get closer and closer to a time where we can all be together again. This requires patience and discipline as we all work together as one Lynn. I am confident that we will get through this crisis by standing firm, and emerge stronger than ever.”
Masks are required as of April 10 when entering any essential business, multi-unit residencies or commercial buildings, according to Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn.
Face coverings are now required in businesses, work sites, government buildings, and the common areas of commercial and residential building complexes.
The Needham Board of Health voted unanimously, making the order effective at 6:01 a.m. Friday, May 1.
This new mandate will apply to both employees and the general public, and will remain in effect through June 16, 2020.
Public Health Director Merridith O’Leary issued an order, which was effective April 16, requiring all customers and employees of essential services to wear a face covering at all times when social distancing can’t be maintained in a business.
The Board of Health issued an order requiring all residents to wear facial coverings — such as fabric masks, a scarf, or a bandanna — when entering an essential business. The order also applies to people picking up food or medication and those entering or exiting residential or commercial complexes with more than one unit.
This order went into effect on April 18 at noon.
As of April 15, anyone who enters an essential business without a facial covering may face a fine up to $1,000.
Essential businesses are also required to post signs requiring masks near public and employee entrances.
All members of the public entering an essential business are required to wear a facial covering, such as a fabric mask, scarf, or bandana. Plymouth’s new mandate also applies to anyone entering a drive-through to pick up food, and to people delivering food.
Town officials said each essential business is required to post signage at public and employee entrances stating that they require facial coverings and social and physical distancing of six feet from one another.
“All persons are required to properly dispose of all gloves, facial coverings and other personal protection equipment or other potentially virus-contaminated items in appropriate disposal bins,” the order reads.
People who do not properly dispose of their gloves, facial coverings, or other materials may face a fine of up to $300 per offense.
The Provincetown Select Board implemented an emergency nuisance order requiring that residents wear masks when outside, in public places, and when entering or working inside local businesses.
Officials said this order will take effect on Friday, May 1, and will remain in place until further notice.
Local businesses will also be required to post the order by their entrance, and are asked to enforce mask coverings inside their establishments.
All essential business employees and members of the public must wear a facial covering over their nose and mouth in businesses as of April 22.
The order does not apply to children younger than 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing.
“All persons are required to properly dispose of all gloves, facial coverings, and other personal protection equipment or other potentially virus-contaminated items in appropriate disposal bins,” the order reads. “Penalties for failure to properly dispose of these materials will be in accordance with state and local laws.”
Since April 12, masks have been required inside all businesses.
Anyone not wearing a face-covering while inside an essential business or other communal spaces within residential buildings could face a fine of up to $300.
Anyone over the age of 2 is required to wear a clean face mask or face covering when in any public space indoors or outdoors as of Wednesday.
City officials said there will be a one-week grace period, allowing community members time to comply, but after that, anyone without a mask may receive a written warning or a $300 fine.
Exceptions will be made for anyone who medically cannot cover their face.
As of Wednesday, the Board of Health has required all residents to wear a facial covering when entering essential, indoor businesses.
Children under 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, and anyone unable to remove the mask without assistance are not required to wear one.
“First responders may enter an establishment to respond to an emergency without a face covering until such time they can assess appropriate personal protective measures,” a letter to residents read.
By a unanimous vote, the Board of Health passed an order requiring residents over the age of 5 to wear a mask or other face covering whenever entering a building or enclosed space open to the public, using transportation, or engaged in an activity in a confined space.
All employees are also required to wear a mask.
The order went into effect at 6 a.m. on Monday.
An order requiring facial coverings for anyone over the age of 5 when entering buildings open to the public went into effect on April 25.
While the mandate does not apply to outdoor physical activity, it does apply to anyone using public transportation, taxis or ride shares, and pumping gas.
Violators could be subject to civil fines and/or criminal prosecution.
Beginning Friday, everyone over the age of 5 is required to cover their face and nose in any public space or common area.
The Winthrop Board of Health requires residents over 5-years-old to wear a face mask or covering in stores, public or common areas, public buildings, and other establishments.
The order was effective as of April 23, and fines range from $50 to $1,000.
Effective Tuesday, the Yarmouth Board of Health issued an emergency order requiring that all employees working inside essential business wear a facial covering over their mouth and nose when interacting with the public or within six feet of a co-worker.
Yarmouth officials said the order will be enforced by the Board of Health and/or its agents if necessary.
All essential businesses will also need to post a sign on their entrance door stating, “All customers entering this establishment are recommended to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose in accordance with CDC guidance.”
Sample signs can be found here.
If your hometown is requiring facial coverings, but you don’t have a mask, here’s how you can make one.
This is a developing story — check back with Boston.com for more updates.