coronavirus

This Massachusetts City Plans to Fine People for Not Wearing Masks

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said fines will be issued starting Sunday for anyone who isn't wearing one

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A Massachusetts city is enacting mandatory use of masks to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

The desolate sidewalks and empty restaurants of Salem aren't what Mayor Kim Driscoll wants, but what her community needs.

"The street we're on right now would be bustling with people on a Thursday night. You know, enjoying a meal out, meeting up with friends, coming off the train," Driscoll said. "There's just a real lack of activity, which we need to be now."

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That lack of activity minimizes risk of spreading COVID-19. It's for that reason starting Sunday, you can expect a fine if you're not wearing a face covering inside an essential business or inside communal spaces within residential buildings. The fine would be $50 for a first offense, $150 for a second offense and $300 for a third offense, though health officials stress that issuing fines would only be a last resort as they would prefer to work with people and businesses to gain compliance.

"Staff always has to have gloves on," said Daniel Gursha, an owner of Leger, a restaurant currently offering curbside pickup only. "We're wearing face coverings, so, you know, I think it's a really good idea."

You may have seen a lot of disposed gloves on the ground. If you are caught littering them in Salem, it will also cost you $50 for the first offense, $150 for the second offense and $300 for the third offense.

"It's just common sense and decency to not leave gloves or masks or anything like that in the parking lot or on the street," Driscoll said.

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