LAWRENCE — A new executive order from Mayor Daniel Rivera threatens a $300 fine for anyone older than 5 years old who does not wear a face mask or face covering in certain settings.
Rivera’s announcement Tuesday, in conjunction with the Lawrence Board of Health, is a response to the city's continually high coronavirus counts, he said. Records show Lawrence is among the top infected cities in the Commonwealth.
“It is important for residents to remember that the best way to stop the spread is to stay home, unless you need food, medicine or medical attention,” Rivera said. “As a community, we need to work hard to stop the spread."
Beginning at 6 a.m. Wednesday, residents and anyone traveling to Lawrence for essential business will be required to wear a mask when outside or in public places, “or face a hefty fine,” Rivera said.
He elaborated, “I know that the primary way Lawrence residents are being infected is at work, and we beg workplaces across the greater Merrimack Valley to do a better job of maintaining social distancing, creating clean environments, giving staff access to PPE and giving their staff paid time off to deal with the effects of the virus.”
The order stipulates that anyone older than 5 must wear a mask or some form of suitable covering over their nose and mouth while doing the following:
— Entering any building open to the public;
— Using public transportation, taxis or ride shares;
— Pumping gas or otherwise using outdoor self-service facilities;
— Engaging in any activity within a confined or enclosed facility where members of the public are present or have routine access;
— Common areas in residential businesses.
A homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief is acceptable, according to the order.
The order allows every store, workplace or other facility to refuse service and “expel” anyone who disobeys the new mask rule.
Anyone who remains in a store, workplace or other facility and refuses to wear a facial covering will be deemed a trespasser, Rivera said, and could be arrested or face civil prosecution.
Despite the heightened safety protocol, social distancing of 6 feet should still be widely followed.
The order does not apply to people who are doing outdoor physical activity, riding in a car, alone in a separate, single space, or indoors with their own family and household members.