5 Things To Know About Marlborough's New Mask Mandate

·2 min read

MARLBOROUGH, MA — Amid an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases, the Marlborough Board of Health last week approved a new mask mandate, which will apply to almost everyone in the city.

The order does not go into effect until 12:01 a.m. on Friday, but the Board of Health is asking everyone to start wearing masks as soon as possible to slow the spread of coronavirus. Here are five things to know about the new order:

1) What do I have to do?

The Board of Health order does not prescribe a specific type of mask to wear, but health officials believe that KN95 or N95 masks are the best way to protect against the omicron variant. The order does specify that both the nose and mouth have to be covered. The order DOES apply even if you've been vaccinated, including booster shots.

2) Are there any exceptions?

Yes, the order does not apply to people under age 5. It also does not apply to people with "a medical condition or disability, or persons who are communicating with a hearing impaired person where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication."

Masks will not be required while eating or drinking at a restaurant. People visiting salons or barber shops can also remove masks temporarily while getting a haircut.

3) Where are masks required?

Pretty much everywhere outside your own home. Masks are required in gyms (even during strenuous activity), stores, restaurants and houses of worship. They're also required in common areas of multifamily buildings, on public transit and in taxis, including services like Lyft and Uber.

4) Why is there a mask mandate?

Coronavirus cases linked to the omicron variant are extremely high right now. There are signs the recent coronavirus surge is on the decline, both at the state and local level. Marlborough was adding about 2,343 new cases per day per 100,000 residents over the week ending Jan. 15. That's down from the week ending Jan. 5, when the city was adding 2,916 new cases per day per 100,000 residents. However, both of those figures are among the highest since the pandemic began in 2020.

5) When does it end?

The Board of Health will review the coronavirus situation at each regularly scheduled meeting. If cases begin to decline enough, the board can vote to end the mandate. The next meeting will happen in February.

This article originally appeared on the Marlborough Patch

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