Massachusetts Gov. Baker orders residents to wear face coverings when in public

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday that residents are required to wear face masks or coverings when in public places where social distancing is not possible to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Baker, during a press conference Wednesday, said that the mask requirement would be effective immediately.

MASSACHUSETTS SEEN AS NEW CORONAVIRUS HOT SPOT

Baker said face coverings are expected to be worn by all Massachusetts residents at all times in grocery stores, retail stores, and when riding on public transportation.

The governor urged residents to avoid using medical grade masks, noting that those should reserved for front-line hospital and medial workers, and reminded residents that masks can be made at home.

“Starting today all Massachusetts residents are required to wear a face covering in public, including when exercising,” Boston Public Health tweeted Wednesday. “You can easily make one from something you already have at home, like a bandana or a t-shirt.”

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority also reminded residents that face coverings could include: “scarves, bandanas, dust masks, and disposable masks.”

Massachusetts’ mask mandate comes after governors in more than a dozen states implemented executive orders or some sort of official guidelines for residents to wear face masks or coverings when in public as part of their coronavirus response efforts.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order requiring New Yorkers to wear some sort of face covering in situations where social distancing is not possible, such as while riding on public transit or walking in crowded areas and stores.

MASK MANDATES: GOVERNORS TIGHTEN RULES FOR FACE COVERINGS AS PART OF CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE

Similar orders were passed in Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and more.

Meanwhile, Baker extended his stay-at-home order until May 18 to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Nonessential businesses will remain closed and residents will be advised to stay home an additional two weeks from the advisory’s original expiration date of May 4. Gatherings of 10 or more will be banned until the order expires, Baker said. Schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

Late last month, Massachusetts was considered a new hot spot for the virus. New York has been considered the epicenter in the U.S., with the highest number of cases, with New Jersey and Massachusetts having the second and third highest number of cases in the country.

As of Wednesday, New York reported more than 321,100 cases and more than 25,000 deaths; New Jersey reported more than 130,500 cases and more than 8,200 deaths; and Massachusetts reported more than 70,000 cases and more than 4,200 deaths.