Residents of Cambridge and Lawrence, Massachusetts, will be required to wear face coverings in public starting Wednesday, as the cities aim to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cambridge on Monday issued an order requiring people over five years old to wear face coverings in all public places, businesses and common areas of residential buildings. Violators could face fines of up to $300.
Exceptions will be made for those exempted by guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
“While we are grateful to those in Cambridge who have been heeding our previous mask advisory and taking this issue seriously, we are concerned about the number of residents who continue to shop, walk, run and bike throughout the city without proper face coverings,” said Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis DePasquale in a joint statement.
“We must all do our part in flattening the curve and make sure we are preventing the further spread of COVID-19. This mandate emphasizes the importance of wearing a face covering, not as an option, but as a requirement in our effort to combat this pandemic together.”
The mask requirement also applies to anyone working in or visiting an essential business, as well as shoppers and consumers, the city said. Such spaces include grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, laundromats, hardware stores and government buildings.
Under the order, masks will be required prior to entering any common area in residential buildings of two or more units, including lobbies, hallways, elevators and parking garages.
The move came on the same day neighboring Somerville issued a similar order.
On Tuesday, Lawrence followed suit with another order close to the others that also comes with a $300 fine for people not complying. The city's board of health issued the executive order requiring masks or facial coverings in public, Mayor Daniel Rivera's office said.
"It's a $300 fine because it takes very little effort. Very little effort to cover your mouth and nose and be safe," Rivera said.
The order, which goes into effect at 6 a.m., applies to anyone over 5 years old in public places including buildings open to the public, modes of transportation besides their own vehicle or while pumping gas.
"We are in a state of national emergency, a state emergency and a local emergency. We're doing things and talking about things we haven't done since the Civil War. This is serious," Rivera said.
All Lawrence stores, places of work and other locations where essential services are done are required to post signs saying that masks or facial coverings must be worn at all times inside.