Order: Wear Masks or Face Coverings in Public

Mask Order

To:         All ResidentsMask Info
From:    Town Administrator and Health Director
Date:     May 1, 2020
Re:        Governor's Order: Wear Mask and Face Coverings in Public

Effective Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Order requiring face masks or cloth face coverings at all times when inside grocery, pharmacy and other retail stores that are open to the public and permitted to operate as COVID-19 essential businesses.  This order applies to all to workers and customers of these businesses and organizations.

Residents are also required to wear a mask or face covering when taking public transportation, outdoors in public areas, and in any public places where proper physical distancing is not possible, whether indoor or outdoor.People who show no symptoms of illness may still be able to spread COVID-19.  A face covering may help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A face covering is anything that covers your nose and mouth, including a mask, scarf or bandana. The Massachusetts Department of Public Heath (MDPH) recommends that the public not use respirator masks, such as the N95 masks as those should be preserved for healthcare workers and first responders.


There are exceptions to the order. Those exempt from wearing face coverings are outlined below. Keep in mind that individuals not wearing a mask or face cover due to a medical condition or disability are not required to produce any documentation verifying the condition.

  1. Children under the age of 2 years. The state will create more guidelines for children between the ages of 2 and 5 years to help parents and guardians. We will post the guidelines when available.
  2. Those with medical conditions or disabilities that may inhibit them from wearing a mask or face covering safely. This may include, but is not limited to:
    1. • Those who cannot breathe safely;
    2. • Those who, due to a behavioral health diagnosis, are unable to do so;
    3. • Those communicating with people who rely upon lip-reading;
    4. • Those who require supplemental oxygen to breathe;
    5. • Those who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  3.  Those who are exercising outdoors and are able to consistently keep physical distance from others; 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department Public Health (DPH) issued Guidance For Wearing Face Masks In Public Settings.

This Guidance may be accessed here.

  • What is the effective date for the Order requiring face coverings?
    This Order will become effective on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Governor rescinds it, or the state of emergency ends, whichever comes first.

  • What are the requirements of the Order?
    The Order requires that every person over the age of five (5) wear a mask or cloth face covering in the following instances:

  1. When in a place open to the public, whether indoor or outdoor and when the person is unable to maintain social distancing; or
  2. When a person is inside, or waiting in line outside of any grocery store, pharmacy, or other retail store; or
  3. When a person is providing or using the services of any taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing, or similar service or any means of mass public transit, or while within an enclosed or semienclosed transit stop or waiting area.
  4. This also applies to all workers and customers of businesses or other organizations open to the public that are permitted to operate as COVID-19 Essential Businesses
  • Are children between two (2) and five (5) years of age required to wear a mask or face covering under the Order?
    Children between the ages of two (2) and five (5) years of age are encouraged to wear a mask or face covering, but it is up to the discretion of the parent or guardian. As a result, the Order does not require such children to wear a mask or face covering.

  • What is a “mask or face covering”?
    There is no official definition other than the requirement that the mask or face covering covers the person’s nose and mouth. The DPH Guidance advises that such masks or coverings should:

    • fit securely and comfortably against the side of the face;
    • be secured with ties or ear loops;
    • allow for breathing without restriction; and
    • be able to be laundered and dried without damage or change of shape.
    • Further, the Order strongly discourages individuals from using medical-grade masks to comply with the Order. These masks should be reserved for use by healthcare workers or first responders.
  • May businesses require customers to wear masks or face coverings while on their property?
    Yes, businesses have the right to decline the entry of any customer who refuses to wear a mask or face covering for non-medical reasons. Businesses cannot, however, decline entry of a customer for failing to wear a mask or face covering because of a medical condition. Businesses may also consider providing other reasonable accommodations to individuals with medical conditions or disabilities such as curbside service. Individuals with medical conditions or disabilities who are denied service because they are unable to wear a face mask can file a complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

  • How is the Order enforced?
    The Order states that the Department of Public Health, local boards of health, and authorized agents under G.L. c. 111, § 30 are authorized to enforce the Order and if necessary, may do so with the assistance of State or municipal police. The Order provides that violations of this Order will be punished in the following manner: (a) a warning for the first offense; and (b) a civil citation and fine of up to $300.00 for the second or subsequent offense.