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FRAMINGHAM – City of Framingham Mayor Charlie Sisitsky issued a mask mandate for the City of Framingham effective Wednesday, January 19.

The mandate is for indoor public spaces only, not private spaces.

A mandate for municipal buildings went into effect in fall 2021.

The Framingham Board of Health in an emergency meeting on Friday, January 14, voted to support the mayoral order.

Natick issued an indoor mask mandate, which began yesterday, January 17.

Marlborough’s Board of Health voted for an indoor mask mandate for that city which begins January 21.

The City of Framingham issued the following Q&A about the order, which starts January 19.

  1. When does this Order go into effect?

This Order shall take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 and shall remain in effect until rescinded.

2.Why is Framingham instituting a mask mandate now?

Since January 1, 2022 we have seen a significant increase in cases of COVID-19 in the City of Framingham impacting all age groups. In addition, the CDC recommends indoor masking in Middlesex County at this time.

3.Where and when do I need to wear a mask or face covering?

Masks or face coverings will be required for staff and customers over the age of two at all indoor establishments that are open to the public. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Restaurants
    • Note: customers may only remove face coverings when they are actively eating or drinking. Patrons standing or ordering at the bar must be masked.
  • Retail establishments
  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Houses of worship
  • Gyms and indoor fitness centers 
  • Performance spaces and theaters
  • Private clubs that host indoor events
  • Lodging facilities such as hotels and motels
  • Common areas of apartment buildings such as elevators, lobbies and laundry areas
  • Personal services establishments, such as barbers, hair stylists, nail salons and massage parlors   
    • Note: clients may remove their masks temporarily to perform services that need to occur on the face, such as beard trimming, facials, makeup applications

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4.Which individuals are exempt from this Order:

This Order does not apply to children under two (2) years of age. This Order does not apply to persons for whom a face mask or covering creates a health risk, affects the person’s ability to breathe safely; has a mental health or other medical diagnosis that advises against wearing a face mask or covering; has a disability that prevents them from wearing a face mask or covering; or depends on supplemental oxygen to breathe.

5.As a business what must I do?

All entry doors of businesses open to the public must post an advisory for employees, customers and visitors that masks must be worn inside the establishment. Business owners are welcome to use the sign created by the City of Framingham, or they can create their own

6.As a business operator, can I deny entry to patrons who refuses to follow this Order?

Yes, if a customer, patron, or attendee refuses to wear a mask or cloth face covering for non-medical reasons, the operator of a facility, business or event may decline entry to the individual.

7.What if my business is not open to the public?

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8.If I am hosting or attending a private event that is not open to the public, do I need to wear a mask or face covering?

If your event is held in an indoor space that is open to the public (e.g. a hotel ballroom, social club, convention center, etc.), all attendees must wear masks or face coverings at all times except when actively eating or drinking. This mandate does not apply to events held at private residences where admission is not charged or compensation is not paid, or outdoors.

9.Are musical and other live performances still allowed at restaurants and other indoor venues?

Yes, performers may remove their masks or face coverings while they are performing as long as they maintain at least six feet of distance from the nearest customer or attendee.

10.What is the penalty for noncompliance?

Presently there are no fines for violations. However, the Order does include language allowing the City to seek a court order enforcing the mask mandate in appropriate cases.

11.When will this Order be reviewed?

The Mayor will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and trends for Framingham.  In addition, the Framingham Board of Health will review this Order at each subsequent regular meeting. Meeting agendas are posted to the City’s website. If no action is taken by the Mayor and the  Board of Health to rescind this Order, it will remain in effect.  

The Mayor hopes that it will be possible to modify or rescind the Order by the end of February, 2022, but that decision will be based on the transmission rates.  If and when the Order is rescinded or modified, notice will be provided to the public by way of a press release and notification on the City’s website.

12.Who can I contact for additional questions?

Managers of licensed businesses and other affected locations may call the Mayor’s office for assistance with messaging to customers. The phone number is 508-532- 5400.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.