Editor’s Note: First published Wednesday, April 15. Updated at 8:44 a.m. on April 16. Last updated with quote from Health Director Sam Wong at 10:03 a.m.
FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Board of Health held an emergency meeting tonight, April 15 in which it voted unanimously to recommend anyone age 2 and older entering any essential business shall wear a face covering or mask and exercise social distancing.
The vote can not require residents to wear a face covering or mask, per the Massachusetts Attorney General’s advisory issued today, April 15.
The Attorney General’s office said “a municipality can encourage people to wear face coverings in public on an advisory basis.” The advisory said that municipalities can not require or force individuals to wear face coverings in public.
The Massachusetts Attorney General is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
UPDATED: Framingham Health Director Sam Wong told SOURCE Thursday morning that he wanted to “emphasize that this is not a face mask order. We do not recommend the public to use medical grade face masks. Those are reserved for healthcare workers and first responders. This BOH order is for the public and employees of essential businesses to wear clean face coverings, such as a home-made cloth mask, scarf, bandana, or any other cloth-based coverings that can cover the nose and mouth.”
The Framingham Board of health’s order voted unanimously as written said:
“All members of the public aged two years and older entering any essential businesses as defined by Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Order No. 13, including but not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies, laundromats, home improvement stores, restaurants (including exterior pickup sites), shall wear a clean face covering, such as a fabric face mask, scarf, or bandana, over their mouth and nose, and exercise social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines.”
The order as voted unanimously said “Operators of essential services shall ensure their customers are in compliance of this requirement. All employees of all essential services shall wear a clean face covering, such as a fabric face mask, scarf, or bandana, over their mouth and nose, and exercise social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines. Operators of essential services shall ensure their employees are in compliance with this requirement.”
“All members of the public aged two years and older entering, exiting, or occupying common areas of any multi-unit residential or commercial building shall wear a clean face covering, such as a fabric face mask, scarf, or bandana, over their mouth and nose, and exercise social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines.
The order, as written had said “all nonessential service departments (such as floral, jewelry, furniture, etc.) within a grocery store or box store shall be closed.”
UPDATED: But Thursday morning, Framingham Health Director Sam Wong said “The BOH voted to change the mandatory closure of nonessential sections of a store in the draft order to an advisory instead. It’s a recommendation, not a requirement.”
The order, as voted Thursday night, requires market to have “public announcements every 30 minutes to remind shoppers to wear cloth face covering, keep physical distance, avoid crowding, keep distance at check-out, and not load items onto conveyor belt until the customer in front has finished their transaction.”
The order, as voted Thursday night, asks markets to “consider relocating high demand items to limit the amount of time customers are in the store” and to “establish one-way only flow for aisle shopping.”