Everyone over the age of two must wear a mask or face-covering in all public places in Everett, Massachusetts starting Monday as the city sees a spike in coronavirus cases.
The new rules require masks at all times in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, regardless of people's ability to maintain social distance. Violators could face up to a $300 fine.
Masks have become a fixture of pandemic life in Massachusetts since Gov. Charlie Baker ordered everyone wear one in public if they can't stay apart from others.
But Everett is now taking things a step further after Baker announced the indefinite postponement of the state's reopening due to a rise in coronavirus cases.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced the mask order Saturday in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. DeMaria acknowledged that the new policy sounds extreme, but said it's necessary.
On Monday, the mayor issued a statement saying, "the health, safety, and wellbeing of those who reside in the City of Everett has always been and will remain to be paramount under my Administration."
"I’m hopeful that the implementation of this order will drive our numbers back down to where they were a month ago. We can only be successful in this endeavor if we work as a community and all make the effort. The intent is not to give out fines, but rather have those gathering in large groups wear face coverings to stop the spread," DeMaria said in a statement.
Public locations include, but are not limited to, parks, businesses, outdoor spaces and all public spaces, according to the mayor's statement.
People visiting restaurants are permitted to remove their mask while consuming food or drink, but must wear a mask while entering, exiting or moving about the establishment.
The Everett Police Department, Everett Health Department and Inspectional Services will strictly enforce these guidelines and issue warnings and/or violations to those not adhering to the order, according to the mayor.
Continuing Coronavirus Coverage
“I think you have to use the mask,” Fernanda Ferrerra said.
“It’s a bit much in my opinion, but I think it’s just to scare people into wearing it,” Mikaell Barreira said. “Most people are wearing it, but there’s the occasional few people who aren’t.”
Barreira says he always carries a mask in his pocket but he doesn't always wear it. After learning of the new order that takes effect Monday, Barreira says that will change.
"Hey, I’m still working part time; I can’t afford a fine like that,” he said.
The mask order will remain in effect until further notice, the mayor said.
Everett is at least the second city in the Boston area to make masks mandatory at all times. Three weeks ago, the City of Salem implemented a similar policy, but it only applies to downtown and city parks.