BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – The Belchertown Board of Health voted unanimously on September 2 requiring masks to be worn in public indoor spaces in effect beginning on September 9.

According to the town’s website, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and additional risks posed by the Delta variant, any one five years or older are required to wear a mask in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status.

The town reports 41 new cases between August 22 through September 4, which brought the total number of cases in Belchertown to 973, in which there are a total of 17 deaths. The 14-day average of percent positivity for Belchertown is 2.29%. There are a total of 62% of residents fully vaccinated as of September 7.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

With new emerging COVID variants, doctors are reporting that symptoms are changing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste of smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

According to experts, an earache is now being reported more and more by those testing positive for the coronavirus. Earaches can cause pain, a feeling of blockage and sometimes muffled hearing.

Mandatory policy for wearing masks in Belchertown

The Belchertown mask order includes detailed information on where masks are required to be worn.

Indoor spaces are defined as all places in the town of Belchertown into which members of the public are invited or otherwise allowed to enter a building or structure to interact with any persons in order to transact any private or public business, including all public indoor spaces, and shall include but not be limited to:

  • Restaurants, bars, indoor performance and event venues, gyms, fitness clubs, places of worship, as well as indoor workplaces, and common areas of multi-unit buildings
  • This definition includes tents with 3 or more enclosing sides

Food service establishment employees shall wear a mask or face covering while serving customers, both indoors and outdoors.

All masks or face coverings worn in accordance with this Order shall conform to the following:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
  • May be removed for eating and drinking
  • Disposable surgical/procedural masks are permitted
  • Masks with exhale valves are not permitted

Mask exemptions include individuals with underlying medical conditions, while seated and eating or drinking at restaurants or bars, and in shared office spaces where six feet of distancing is maintained.