"Significant Surge" And Red Status Trigger Mandatory Mask Order, Public Health Emergency

Published by Chris Wangler- October 14, 2020.

On Wednesday, Waltham’s Board of Health issued public health orders due to a recent coronavirus surge that led state health officials to label the city high risk.
“All residents and visitors shall wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when they are in any place that is open to members of the public,” said the mandatory face covering order.
An accompanying public health emergency explained that “Since September, there has been a significant surge of COVID-19 cases in the City of Waltham.”
That order attributed the increase to close contact among families and individuals, “gatherings/parties, lack of mask wearing, not safe physical distancing, lack of proper isolation/quarantine and continuing difficulties with contact tracers.”
Last week, state public health officials labeled Waltham red or high risk for its growing number of positive COVID-19 cases.
Waltham’s new mask order applies “to all areas that are open to the public, whether the property is publicly or privately owned, whether it is indoors or outdoors, and regardless of size or capacity.”
Affected are all retail stores, restaurants, parks, sidewalks and public buildings.
The order does not apply to walking, bicycling, running or hiking as long as 6-foot social distancing is maintained. The penalty for violating the mask order is a fine of $300.
The goal of both orders is to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The public health emergency order, effective October 14, will remain in effect as long as Waltham’s status remains red.
Over the last week, COVID cases have begun to trend upward in states across the country, potentially indicating another wave of the virus.
Bottom file photo: Waltham’s Director of Public Health Michelle Feeley