Mask Mandate posted – effective this Thursday (Updated)

by beth on January 11, 2022

Post image for Mask Mandate posted – effective this Thursday (Updated)

Above: A (much large) banner promoting the Mask Mandate has been posted on the Town’s website.

As I previewed, the Board of Health planned to issue a Mask Mandate that will be effective on Thursday, January 13th. As of mid-afternoon, the detailed policy still hadn’t been posted or emailed. But the “Mask Advisory” image on the Town website has been replaced with the above image summarizing the Mask Mandate.

It reads:

In response to the spread of the Delta variant and the emerging Omicron variant, the Board of Health voted on January 10th to mandate all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering one indoors (and not in your own home). Those in violation of a mandate could be fined up to $100/violation. Those under two years old, those with certain medical conditions, mental health conditions or disabilities (especially anyone who cannot safely unmask without assistance), and those communicating with someone hearing impaired are exempt.

Effective January 13, 2022

If a more detailed policy is issued, I’ll update this post to include the information.

Updated (1/11/22 5:47 pm): As promised, now that the detailed policy is posted, I’m sharing it. The full language is:

In response to the highly contagious Omicron COVD-19 variant and high number of cases in the community, the Southborough Board of Health met on January 10, 2022 to discuss a mask mandate. Given the high volume of cases, the Board of Health is requiring that everyone regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in public indoor settings in Southborough to try to minimize the spread.

Effective Date: 12:01 January 13, 2022 masks covering the nose and mouth are required for all individuals ages 2 and above at public indoor spaces within the town of Southborough. The board will revisit within 30 days.

Public indoor spaces including but not limited to:

  • Restaurants, bars, retail food stores
  • Healthcare facilities, gyms, recreational facilities
  • Houses of Worship
  • Retail establishments
  • Event venues
  • Salons, barbershops, nail salons, massage establishments

The most effective masks are multi-layer and should cover the mouth and nose entirely.

Exemptions to mask requirements:

  • No one under the age of 2 years old should wear a mask due to suffocation risk
  • Medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. No one should wear a mask that is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
  • Anyone who is communicating with someone who is hearing impaired and relies on seeing the mouth for communication

Enforcement

Pursuant to MGL Chapter 111; Sections 31 and 104 the Board of Health and authorized agents have the ability to enact and enforce an emergency regulation and order for a mask mandate. Pursuant to MGL Chapter 111 Section 104 and Chapter 40, section 21D, in addition to any other remedy available in law or equity, a violation of any provision of this order may result in a $100 fine and/or a fine of not more than one thousand dollars in accordance with MGL Chapter 111 Section 31. If necessary, the Board of Health may rely on the Southborough Police Department for assistance in enforcement.

*Issued January 11, 2022 per the Southborough Board of Health

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Kendall January 13, 2022 at 5:26 PM

I was running errands today and noticed that the businesses I went into, including Walgreens had no signs requiring masking. Did the Board of Health provide adequate notice to everyone?

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2 Amy January 14, 2022 at 11:16 AM

I went in without a mask to Wegmans and they didn’t say anything. I went into Dunkin Donuts and they said I needed a mask. I said no thank you and took my coffee and left. I feel bad for the store owners and employees who don’t want this. I think everyone knows this is just theater at this point because all our health officials policies were so useless they still try to act as if they are doing anything meaningful.

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3 beth January 14, 2022 at 11:31 AM

I feel bad for the store employees subjected to exposure from people like you who believe that your feelings are more important than theirs.

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4 Amy January 14, 2022 at 2:45 PM

It’s cool. I feel bad for you that you believe it’s important to mask. We are all a caring family.

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5 Perplexed January 14, 2022 at 4:40 PM

I know Beth…

It’s funny that you can’t walk into the same establishments with bare feet because you may catch athlete’s foot, which is easily treatable. But so many people have hissy fits about wearing a mask to reduce the spread of a highly contagious and in some cases, deadly disease. It should be about caring for others. “I have the freedom to not wear a mask” are the cries I hear, but when it comes to public health and the safety of others, we all must make some personal sacrifices.

Those store employees may have loved ones that they live with or care for (such as myself) that, if exposed to COVID-19, even the “weaker” Omicron variant, can result in serious medical conditions, long-haul COVID, or even death.

Apparently, gone are the days of “loving thy neighbor” and I guess it is now “it’s all about ME”

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6 southsider January 15, 2022 at 8:41 AM

Bravo, Beth!

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7 Jim January 15, 2022 at 2:51 PM

I totally agree with you Beth.

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8 John Kendall January 16, 2022 at 10:19 AM

Thank you Beth. It’s because of people like Amy that this new variant is spreading like wildfire

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9 Tim Martel January 18, 2022 at 8:46 AM

Be fair.

This new variant will spread like wild fire no matter what we do.

Vaccines will help somewhat. Even more as they are adjusted on a yearly basis by the manufacturer (i.e. like influenza.) They are still proven to reduce severity, which is the most important factor

Masks won’t help much with the new variant as it’s capable of surviving as an aerosol rather than droplets.

By the end of Feb, most of the unvaccinated will have gotten omicron. With that level of herd immunity, combined with vaccination levels, perhaps our community will finally be able to let go of the fear.

10 Amy January 17, 2022 at 3:54 PM

Sorry. Perhaps I worded it poorly. I know the employee as a regular customer. She is just following rules and thinks it is insane. She brought out the coffees today knowing I would go to a different location if I had to wear the mask. Most retail employees who don’t sit behind a laptop at home understand this.

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11 Interested January 14, 2022 at 12:26 PM

I was in the convenient store on Main St. on Tuesday evening (not sure if it’s still Mauro’s Market since they never replaced the sign after renovations) and asked the employee if they had received any notice of the town wide mask mandate that was going in to effect on Wednesday. He said that he had not been told about it and thanked me for the information.
I did wonder how the word was getting out. Did the town send a letter out to businesses alerting them of the mandate? Is there any guidance or protocol on how to enforce adherence of the mask mandate?

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12 Michael January 14, 2022 at 2:49 PM

It’s sad we still accept masks as a norm in society with no measurable benefit. If you feel it protects you, I understand your fear and will be respectful, but I it is so frustrating these people who put masks on their kids.

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13 Julia January 14, 2022 at 2:58 PM

Just an FYI, Hudson stores are no mask if you don’t want to be harassed by crazy people. Sad to lose my Wegmans but it is so much better.

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14 northsider February 10, 2022 at 8:42 AM

Crazy people, how lovely and neighborly of you.

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15 Resident January 14, 2022 at 3:10 PM

I was in Southborough House of Pizza today, no masks on any of the workers or customers.

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16 Christina January 17, 2022 at 11:30 AM

Really one of the worst things we do in the name of public health. The BOH didn’t even discuss the matter just copied the orders from other towns. They want to pretend they are in control of the virus. Problem is people think masks help so they go to stores when sick wearing a mask. Those that are vunerable think the mask makes it more safe for them. The reality is they do practically nothing. Even if they supposedly improved the situation, what good does it do when you are exposed to someone who is extremely contagious.

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17 beth January 18, 2022 at 8:36 AM

I don’t understand you’re statement, “The BOH didn’t even discuss the matter just copied the orders from other towns.” They did discuss it at their meeting where it was adopted. The Chair didn’t simply copy orders from other Towns, she took parts from different Towns that she said she thought related to Southborough and asked the Board, Police Chief, and staff for feedback. They supported it.

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18 Health care worker January 19, 2022 at 8:37 AM

The level of ignorance in this thread is troubling. I work in health care. In fact during the first surge in March 2020 ( before vaccines) I was in the ICU’s working with COVID patients, (the sickest patients I have ever seen in my 35 years), because of masks I am happy to say I never contracted the virus nor did my family members who were home with me at the time. As the pandemic has moved through a couple more surges I am back at my home base in the OR giving anesthesia, I continue to wear masks ( and all proper PPE when patients are known COVID positive) in my professional life and and in my personnel life. Masks DO help to stop the spread! I have had multiple exposures at work due to my high risk job and I have never contracted COVID due to my vigilance. Wearing a paper mask PROPERLY is the best protection ( beside vaccines of course) one can take in protecting yourself. I can’t wait for the comments.. I may get back to you when I get HOME from work taking care of patients.

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19 John Kendall January 19, 2022 at 2:37 PM

I too work in healthcare. Being in rooms with Covid patients, wearing full PPE, is a daunting, yet necessary task. It’s been no fun for anyone on the frontlines, and definitely not for the patients who are so damned sick. I can’t wait for this to go away, but in the meantime, get vaccinated, wear a mask.

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20 Interested January 19, 2022 at 10:00 AM

I am glad to see signs on retail stores informing customers of the town wide mask mandate.
I get that people are very tired of thinking about and worrying about Covid. It’s stressful. I’d like to suggest that those of us who are otherwise healthy, practice gratitude for our own health while also practicing kindness toward those who have underlining health issues. Wearing a mask is such a small inconvenience. Just do it, please. My kids have health issues. They have been home, with little contact with peers, since March 2020. I’m sure everyone knows someone who has been affected in a worse way from the pandemic then they, themselves have been. Again, please just do it. Think about your grandparents, your kids, think about all those who have lost loved ones and just put on the mask. Would you think it rude of someone to sneeze in a public place and not cover their mouth? Why do we wash our hands after sneezing into them?
Try not to be overly emotional and make statements that are based on emotions only. Try to be reasonable and thoughtful and just put on a mask.

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21 beth January 19, 2022 at 9:09 AM

Covid-19 and variants all appear to be transmitted as aerosols, Omicron is just more highly transmissable. The CDC hasn’t said that masks are useless. They have recommended that cloth masks (and ill fitting masks) are less effective. You can find their mask guidance here. It would be great if everyone was able to wear effective masks in public places – but even with less effective masks – the “swiss cheese” effect is that masks help reduce the spread.

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