BOSTON — Everyone in Massachusetts must begin wearing masks or facial coverings while in public under an executive order signed Friday by Gov. Charlie Baker.
The use of facial coverings is a commonsense strategy to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, particularly as the state makes plans to begin reopening the economy on May 18, Baker said.
“Covering our faces when we cannot practice social distancing is a critically important and essential step that everyone can and should take to stop or slow the spread,” the Republican said at a press conference. “When we re-open we want to do it based on the right data at the right time with the right mechanisms in place so we only have to do this once.”
The order also applies to workers in groceries, pharmacies and retail stores deemed essential businesses and for those using public transportation.
The new order takes effect on May. 6.
Several cities -- Lawrence, Cambridge and Somerville -- have already begun requiring people wear face masks in public locations or face a $300 fine.
The statewide mandate won’t apply to children under 2 years old or those with certain medical conditions.
Baker said he hopes the state gets to the point where wearing a mask in public becomes the norm during the pandemic.
“I’m hoping we get to the point as we move down the road here when it becomes the norm because it should be,” Baker said.
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