The policy, which includes all municipal buildings and facilities open to the public, goes into effect Wednesday. Exempted are children younger than 2 years old and those who are unable to wear a mask due to health risk. The mandate will remain in effect until rescinded.
Sisitsky attended a Framingham Board of Health meeting on Tuesday to solicit input from the board and members of the public. While a few community members did speak out against a mask mandate at that meeting, a majority said they were in favor.
The mayor’s office and the city’s Department of Public Health also received dozens of emails over the past week from residents who wanted to share their thoughts, according to a press release from Sisitsky’s office.
“The concern expressed for the well-being of family, neighbors, customers, students, and fellow Framingham residents is what makes our community great,” Sisitsky said in the press release.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has taxed our community’s mental, physical, and financial health for almost two years,” he added. “The goal of this Executive Order is to slow the surge of positive cases and enable residents to feel safer as quickly as possible.”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health advises the use of masks indoors, but does not require it in most circumstances. Throughout MetroWest, several communities have adopted mask mandates or mask advisories in recent weeks.
As of Wednesday, the city has seen 14,375 people test positive for COVID-19, and almost 2,000 of those positive tests came during the one-week period between Jan. 5 and Jan. 12, according to the press release. There were 3,331 active cases in Framingham as of Wednesday.
The Board of Health will convene for an emergency meeting at 7 p.m. today to ratify and adopt Sisitsky’s executive order, according to the press release.
What is and isn’t included in the mandate
The mandate does not apply to the Framingham Public Schools, which are subject to guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Private residences and private workplaces not open to the public are also exempt.
Public places that do fall under the new policy include grocery stores, pharmacies, hotels, event venues and private clubs. Those businesses and facilities will be required to post a notice at the door requiring people entering to don a face covering.
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Restaurant, bar and dance venue patrons will be allowed to drop their masks when actively eating or drinking, though they must remain masked while dancing or ordering at the bar, according to the mandate. The policy will not apply to performers, who may remain unmasked if they are at least 6 feet away from customers.
The city will post an FAQ on framinghamma.gov on Tuesday with a graphic that businesses can download and post at their entrances. The press release also invited the managers of impacted businesses and facilities to call the mayor’s office for assistance with messaging.
This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: Framingham mask mandate: Sisitsky rolls out new policy