All members of the public above the age of 2 urged to wear a face-covering when outside their homes in order to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.
SOMERVILLE, MA – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and the Somerville Board of Health have issued a public advisory that, starting immediately, everyone in Somerville should wear a clean face covering, such as a fabric mask, scarf, or bandana, over their mouth and nose when in any public establishment or common area. Community members are also advised to wear face coverings when in parks, on paths, or in other shared community spaces.
This applies when entering any sort of essential business currently in operation such as grocery stores, pharmacies, laundromats, home improvement stores, and restaurant pickup sites. Face coverings also should be worn when entering and exiting multi-unit residences or commercial buildings and when passing through hallways or other common areas.
The order is based on safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will remain in effect until social distancing regulations designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are eased. Members of the public are advised this order is in addition to existing social distancing guidelines, not a replacement for them. It is still important to remain at least 6 feet away from people who are not part of your household, even when wearing a mask.
“The important part about face coverings is they help prevent you from spreading this disease to others. Your mask protects others. Their mask protects you,” Mayor Curtatone said. “One of the scary parts of COVID-19 is we can have it and be a danger to others even though we are showing no symptoms. This will help protect the frontline workers who are still on the job trying to make sure we stay healthy and fed during this crisis. The people who stock the shelves at our local markets or who operate the laundry establishments where we clean our clothes deserve every protection we can afford them. Wearing a mask in the common areas of multi-unit homes is also an important way you can help protect your neighbors.”
Please note, infants and children under the age of 2 should not wear face coverings, as it constitutes a hazard for them. The CDC also warns that face masks should not be used by “anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious or otherwise incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”
The City is aware of the current shortage of available masks, which will make it difficult for some to wear a face covering. City officials will be conducting spot checks at businesses to monitor compliance, but if you see someone in public without a face covering, it could be due to lack of available masks or an underlying health issue. Please leave monitoring and enforcement to public officials.
“We need people to be responsible solely for their own face coverings,” Mayor Curtatone said. “We do not want people to confront others or act as community monitors. Please wear a face covering, go about your essential business, practice social distancing, then go home and wash your hands. Please don’t make assumptions about or get involved in anyone’s compliance but your own.”
Key elements to remember when wearing a face-covering include:
It should fit snugly against the side of your face;
It should be secured with ties or ear loops;
It should have multiple layers of fabric;
It should allow for breathing without restriction;
Fabric face coverings should be cleaned after each use and should be machine washable and dryer safe;
Always remove the mask directly into the laundry or trash and then immediately wash your hands;
Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your mask.
Instructions for how to fashion a homemade face covering with no sewing required can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html.
For more information and regular COVID-19 updates, visit http://www.somervillema.gov/coronavirus and sign up for City alerts at http://www.somervillema.gov/Alerts. We urge you to sign up for every alert method you are able to receive: phone call, text, email. Also follow FB.com/SomervilleCity and @SomervilleCity.