On Friday, May 1, Governor Baker issued COVID-19 Executive Order No. 31 requiring face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible.  The Order provides that effective Wednesday, May 6, 2020, any person over 2 years of age, within a public place and who cannot maintain social distancing – defined as maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others – “shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering[.]” The new mandate “applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations open to the public as ‘essential businesses.’”

In addition, “[a]ll persons are required to wear masks or cloth face coverings at all times when inside grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail stores.” This requirement also applies to those using mass transit and taxis.

The Executive Order expressly discourages the use of “medical-grade masks,” which should be reserved for healthcare workers.

Customers refusing to wear the required face covering can be required not enter the subject premises.

In the coming days, the state Commissioner of Public Health will issue guidance for the use of face coverings on children ages 2 – 5 years.

Any violation of this new order may result in a civil fine of up to $300 dollars.

To see the full text of COVID-19 Executive Order No. 31, click here.