NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker’s state-wide mask order takes effect Friday. It comes after the state’s COVID-19 related hospitalizations have more than doubled over the past two months.
The revised order requires everyone over the age of five to wear masks in all public places even where they are able to maintain six feet of distance.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Stay-at-home advisory, early business closures, revised mask and gathering orders for Massachusetts
According to the order, public places include any place open to the public such as grocery stores, retail stores, public transportation, public streets, and any location that hosts indoor or outdoor performances.
Also, if a customer refuses to wear a mask for non-medical purposes, the business can decline entry to that person. When it comes to enforcement, the order says it is up to local boards of health to enforce the order with the optional assistance of police if necessary.
“I think it’ll help the country,” said Caitrin Burke of Amherst. “I think everyone needs to do it and it’ll help the safety of everyone. It’s what we all have to do right now. I mean it’s not the most comfortable thing but I try to wear it as much as I can.”
The revised order still allows for an exception for residents who cannot wear a face-covering due to a medical or disabling condition. But it allows employers and schools with in-person learning to require proof of such a condition.
Face coverings are encouraged but not required for children aged two to five.