Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday, April 28 that his emergency order requiring that all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public will be extended until May 18.
Businesses and organizations not on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order. This order also extends the existing ban on gatherings of more than 10 people until May 18.
Whitman and Hanson have expanded requirements for physical distancing to include boards of health orders to mandate the wearing of protective masks by all residents entering essential businesses.
“In the past 10 days, the number of residents testing positive for COVID-19 has doubled,” Whitman Town Administrator Frank Lynam advised residents in a weekend reverse-911 call. “It is this condition that prompted the Board of Health to issue the following order: effective immediately, all persons entering any essential business premise must wear a face mask for the protection of the public.”
Business failing to follow the order will be subject to a closure order by the Board of Health.
“On a personal level, Whitman residents are advised to avoid gathering in groups and to wear a mask anytime they are in a public setting exposed to other people,” Lynam said. He also said there was great concern about the number of people walking dogs in Whitman Park without cleaning up after their pets.
“If this continues, the town will have to consider closing the park to all dog walking,” Lynam said. “We sincerely hope this will not be necessary.”
Residents age 2 and older entering essential businesses, including but not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies, home improvement stores and the like must wear a cloth face covering, such as a fabric mask, scarf or bandana, over his or her nose and mouth. Face coverings can be made out of household fabrics and materials and should ideally have multiple layers.
An employee of the retailer shall be designated to ensure that members of the public ages 2 years of age and older are entering the establishment wearing a cloth face covering, according to Hanson’s Board of Health order. Whitman’s Board of Health issued the same order, effective at 6 a.m., Monday, April 27.
“By taking common-sense precautions — not going on unnecessary outings, wearing a mask in public and avoiding gatherings — we can get through this pandemic until it is safe t ease restrictions,” Lynam said.
The Department of Public Health’s stay-at-home advisory will remain in effect. Residents are strongly urged to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary person-to person contact during this time period.