Northampton extends mandate of public masks to workplaces and outdoor gatherings
Published: 08/28/2021 07:00:13 AM
NORTHAMPTON – Citing a three-fold increase in the city’s COVID-19 case rate in recent weeks, the Board of Health has expanded the mandate of public masks to include more indoor and outdoor locations, starting Monday.
In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the board added indoor workplaces, off-court rest areas for athletes and outdoor food courts to the list of places where virtually all members of the public, regardless of their immunization status, should wear a properly fitted mask. their mouths and noses.
The mask’s mandate – in effect from spring 2020 to May 2021 – was reinstated on August 9 in response to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but it only applied to certain spaces indoor audiences, including shops, places of worship and event venues.
Since then, “the 14-day incident rate of COVID-19 infection in Northampton has fallen from 3.9 cases per day per 100,000 people to 12 cases per day per 100,000 people,” the Department of Northampton Health in a statement announcing the new requirements. . During this period, the local level of community transmission also rose from “moderate” to “significant,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The spaces now covered by the mandate include the common areas of multi-unit buildings; all indoor workplaces and all outdoor events – including fairgrounds and outdoor performance venues – where social distancing is not possible. Also covered are canoes, benches and other common rest areas for a wide range of sports, from baseball, football and basketball to martial arts, dance lessons, fencing and boxing, among others which are considered to present a moderate or high risk of physical contact between players.
Team swimmers must wear masks “at all times when not in the water, including, but not limited to, indoor pool decks, locker rooms, locker rooms and washrooms” .
Warrant exemptions include children under the age of 2 and anyone who cannot wear a mask due to a health problem.
An artist who sings or plays a wind / brass instrument does not need to wear a mask, but should stand 10 feet from any member of the audience. Performers also include those who speak at public events.
Restaurant servers are required to wear masks when serving customers in outdoor seating areas. Customers can still remove their masks to eat and drink.
A daily fine of $ 1,000 can be imposed on any “person or entity controlling an indoor public space” who permits the violation of the order. The ordinance does not specify any sanction for infringements outside.
Brian Steele can be reached at [email protected]