An emergency order requiring face coverings in public took effect in Massachusetts Wednesday as the state battles to control the coronavirus outbreak.
The order, signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, applies to everyone over the age of two in all indoor public places and outside when social distancing can't be properly maintained. Masks must also be worn on public transportation and in stores.
Face coverings must cover your nose and mouth and can include masks, scarves or bandanas. Medical masks should be preserved for health care workers and first responders.
Violators could face a $300 fine. How to enforced the order will be left to individual cities and towns.
Baker said it is important to wear masks to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus, especially for those who are asymptomatic and may not realize they are carrying the illness.
"I do believe people want to do the right thing on this and I do hope, over time, that they do because it’s not just about protecting yourself," Baker said, "It’s about protecting your friends and your family and your coworkers and those around you."
The towns of Wakefield and Melrose will be undertaking a mass distribution of masks, passing them out to residents door-to-door.
"I think it's great. It's a great community we live in, and they care about the people that live in the community … and the children and residents," said Errol Flynn of Wakefield. "I think it's great thing."
Ruth Clay, the health director for both Wakefield and Melrose, says some people still aren't wearing face coverings.
"We're trying to explain to everyone why it's important to wear a mask," she said. "I've gone to a couple of businesses who aren't wearing masks, their own employees, and talked to them and given them a warning."
In Medford, thousands of masks will be handed out for free Thursday afternoon to residents in a drive-thru at Hormel Stadium.
"We have been getting a lot of calls from our senior population that don't have masks, and they need them, so we ordered about 10,000 masks," said Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn.
In Wakefield, the town says volunteers, clearly marked with yellow Department of Public Works vests, will be delivering the bags. Each house will get five masks. Multi-family homes will get masks for each residence.
Wakefield says if you don't need the masks, you should give them to a friend or neighbor who does need them. If you need more than five, you can reach out to the town.