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Wearing of the Masks: Here’s what you need to know

On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced an executive order requiring all Massachusetts residents and essential workers to wear a mask or cover their face in public to help protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Residents and workers who can’t safely practice social distancing in public must wear a mask or face-covering.  

Why?

The CDC recommends that Americans should cover their face if you have to go out to places like the supermarket, pharmacy, walk the dog etc. The virus can spread through respiratory droplets by coughing, sneezing and even talking to someone in close proximity – we’ve all had those incidents were you accidentally spit on someone while talking right? The CDC also stated that 25% of infected people might not show symptoms but can still be transmitting COVID-19.

Face coverings should not be placed on children under 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.

What kind of mask should I wear?

Leave the surgical masks or N95 respirators for those on the frontline i.e. medical professionals, first responders etc. You are advised to wear a cloth mask, bandana or scarf. You can learn how to make your own mask here.  You can also learn how to turn a bandana into a mask hereTip: If you hold up your material in the light and can see through it, the fabric is probably too thin.

Visit CDC guidelines on face coverings for more information and guidance. 

Can I get a fine for not wearing one?

Yes, you can. The governor’s order states a fine of up to $300 per violation. The governor is leaving enforcement up to each city. You can also be banned from entering any business in the state if you’re not wearing a mask.

Do I need to wear a mask in ride shares?

Yes.  Both drivers and the passengers of any ride-sharing service or taxi are required to wear a face covering. It also applies to all public transportation?

What if I’m young and healthy, do I still need to wear a mask?

Yes, yes, yes!  Covering your face will not only protect yourself but it will protect other people from you!  Remember the CDC stated that 25% of infected people might not show symptoms but can still be transmitting COVID-19.

If I’m wearing a mask do I still need to practice social distancing?

Yes. You should still maintain six feet of space between yourself and other people.

What else?

Wash you hands frequently and stay home. Residents are encouraged to remain in their homes as much as possible throughout the day and only leave for essential needs, including trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, emergency meal sites and other essential services.

Image of Mayor Walsh wearing a mask made by City Councilor-at-Large Annissa Essaibi-George via Instagram.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.