A mask mandate covering bars, restaurants, hair salons, fitness centers and healthcare facilities went into effect Monday in Belmont, possibly paving the way for similar mandates in other communities as COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
The mandate essentially covers all indoor activities in public spaces, requires businesses to display the mask requirement, and leaves it up to them to enforce the rule.
“All entrance doors to businesses open to the public should be posted – advising customers that masks should be kept inside the establishment,” according to the city. “Institutional staff must supervise and enforce this requirement. “
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 12 counties in Massachusetts – all except Hampshire County in Western Mass. – with an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases triggered by the highly contagious Delta variant.
Belmont is in Middlesex County, which the CDC has identified as having a “substantial” rate of transmission of the coronavirus. The CDC suggested wearing a mask indoors; the city‘s board of directors and board of health decided the public health risk required a stronger position. The mandate covers children as young as 2 years old and all other age groups.
“Face coverings are required for all persons two years of age and over in all indoor public spaces or private spaces open to the public, except when a person is unable to wear a face cover due to a problem. health or disability, ”according to the city’s website.
In one publish on his web page, the city clarified the mandate:
– Restaurant customers “can only remove their face coverings when they are seated”.
– People who frequent “indoor entertainment” venues “can only remove face coverings in the actual act of eating and drinking”.
– There are different rules for people in “indoor bar and dance” places. “Customers can only remove their face coverings when they are seated at tables or sitting in a bar. Customers standing or commanding at the bar must be masked. Guests must be masked on the indoor dance floors.
– Guests and accommodation workers must wear face coverings when “inside hallways and common areas”.
– The mandate applies to religious institutions. “Places of worship are covered by this decree. “
– Workers, clients and visitors to fitness centers / fitness clubs “are required to wear face coverings during fitness activities, including strenuous activities”.
– In hairdressing salons and other “personal service establishments”, “all clients and workers are required to wear face coverings, except for skin or beard care that occurs on the face , the client can temporarily remove the face covering but must immediately put the face covering back on for the remainder of the visit.
– “Masks remain compulsory for all people in public and private transport. “