Agawam, West Springfield have no plans to implement public mask mandates

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield city-wide indoor mask mandate started Monday in an effort to stop rising COVID-19 cases. However, as of Monday other nearby cities have made no public announcement yet on also implementing a mandate. Some cities cited the difficulty in enforcing a mandate and their high vaccination rates.

“It’s going to keep people safe. It’s going to keep my loved ones safe, then why not? Let’s do it. Let’s put the masks back on,” said Springfield resident Kenny Castro.

Castro, like many other people, is worried about the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. Those rising numbers now causing a city wide indoor mask mandate in Springfield for 60 days. Castro says he think its necessary to prevent another lockdown, “I feel good about it. I think that we needed it. The spread is insane right now. It’s the only way to keep safe and open fully, not just down again, not close businesses. So let’s avoid that.”

While Springfield is masking up, some of its neighbors don’t plan on hopping on board just yet. In West Springfield, the health board maintains a ‘strong recommendation’ to its residents to wear a mask when necessary. Mayor Will Reichelt told 22News its very difficult to enforce it and there are no plans to put to in place another mask order.

And in Agawam, Mayor William Sapelli also says there are no plans for a mask order, citing their vaccination rates. Both Sapelli and Reichelt encourage their residents to get boosted as soon as possible.

Chicopee resident Heather Stevens says she keeps her mask on hand no matter where she goes, “I think it would be good to have a mask mandate in other communities, especially because people don’t only stay in one city. So it really doesn’t make sense to mask up in one town and then just leave it off in the next.”

Chicopee currently only has a mask mandate for municipal buildings. There has been no word yet if they plan to implement a mask mandate for indoor businesses. In September when masks were implemented temporarily for municipal buildings, Mayor Vieau said implementing a city-wide mask mandate is a challenge to enforce for the Chicopee Police Department due to the amount of resources spread across the city required.

Just approved Monday night, the Holyoke Board of Health voted for a mask mandate in all public indoor locations. The order will go into effect on Thursday.

As far as other surrounding towns, Longmeadow has a mask mandate for all public indoor places and Wilbraham has a mask mandate for all municipal buildings. No mask mandates have been issued for East Longmeadow or Ludlow as of Monday.

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