Gov. Charlie Baker signed an order Friday requiring Massachusetts residents to wear masks in public. Here are some fast facts on the order, which takes effect on May 6.
Where should masks be worn?
The order requires residents to use a face covering in public places when they cannot socially distance.
Who is required to wear masks?
The order applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations opened to the public, including grocery and retail stores and public transportation.
The governor’s executive order does not apply to children under the age of 2 or anyone who is unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions or other Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued exemptions. Baker said he has instructed state health officials to issue additional guidance on children between the ages of 2 and 5.
What constitutes an appropriate face mask?
The order requires any cloth that covers your nose and mouth, including a mask, scarf or bandana. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh shared a video tutorial Sunday on how to make a face covering at home.
Medical-grade masks like N95 respirators should be preserved for health care workers and first responders.
Will people who don’t wear masks in public be fined?
The order provides that people who don’t comply can face a fine of up to $300.
But Baker said he is mainly leaving enforcement to cities and towns. Some have already put fines in place, including ones that are higher than the state’s fine.
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When does this order expire?
That’s up to Baker to decide.
“I think we all believe that as part of the strategy around some sort of reopening, people are going to need a mask or a face covering if they’re going to be close to people. You can’t always stay six feet away,” the governor said. “If everybody’s wearing a mask, it will dramatically reduce the opportunity and possibility of spread.”
“This is going to be a way of life,” he added. “No ifs, no ands, no buts, no doubts.”
Earlier this week, Baker detailed the steps that are being taken to reopen the Massachusetts economy.
He said the newly-established Reopening Advisory Board “has hit the ground running” and begun meeting with various employers, business organizations and municipalities to talk about the issues they are facing and how they see the reopening working for them.
The advisory board is charged with returning to Baker with a set of recommendations no later than May 18, the day the non-essential business closures are set to expire.