An indoor mask mandate in all public spaces will go into effect on Monday in Lynn, Massachusetts, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the state.
Mayor Thomas McGee signed an order Thursday requiring anyone over the age of two to wear face coverings inside any public place, regardless of vaccination status. City officials called the order a "critical step" to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and protect Lynn residents.
"I feel strongly that by putting this measure in place, we can all do our small part to help drive our positive case numbers down again and keep our community healthy," McGee said.
Lynn isn't the only city experiencing a surge in cases. COVID-19 cases are rising sharply across Massachusetts. On Thursday alone, more than 5,800 were reported.
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Cities and towns across Massachusetts, including Lynn, began receiving free, rapid COVID-19 tests this week as part of Gov. Charlie Baker's new strategy to control the spread of the virus this holiday season.
Baker said earlier this week that he has no plans to reinstate a statewide mask mandate. The very next day, the Massachusetts Medical Society recommended that people wear masks in all public indoor spaces.
McGee cited the holiday season as well as recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in his decision.
“Lynn has made great strides to keep our community safe by offering and encouraging free testing and vaccines, but masking indoors continues to be an incredibly important tool in the toolbox, especially during the holidays and winter season,” McGee said.
Public locations include municipal and school buildings, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, places of worship, funereal homes, convenience stores, fitness centers, all retail stores, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, public transportation, taxis, livery, and other ride sharing vehicles. Locations like event venues and private clubs that hosts indoor events or performances are also subject to the mandate.
The order requires all businesses, healthcare facilities and any other establishments open to the public to post a notice at entry requiring those entering to wear a face-covering or mask.
Exceptions to the order include people who are unable to wear a mask or face covering due to medical or disabling conditions, where it would impede communication due to hearing impairment or other disabilities and while actively eating or drinking, receiving dental care or other health care, or swimming.