Holyoke enacting mask mandate at all municipal buildings | News
HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Holyoke Acting Mayor Terry Murphy announced Friday a new mask mandate as COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
Murphy said a new indoor mask order within all municipal buildings will begin next week. While this is not required for local businesses, the mayor is encouraging employers to take it upon themselves to require masks indoors.
“Our overall goal is the health of our employees, the health of our citizens,” Murphy noted.
Masks will be required within all municipal buildings starting Tuesday, September 7, which means any staff members or anyone receiving services from the city will be required to wear a mask indoors at all times.
“We are not immune from impacting someone else. We know the statistics clearly indicate that we have a responsibility to keep each other healthy as possible,” Murphy said.
The mandate will be in place until October 1. The mayor said he will meet with public health officials on September 28 to revisit the policy.
“I would love to have the new statistics say we are going in the right direction, so that as of October 1, we can maybe alleviate some of these mandates,” Murphy explained.
Murphy is also strongly recommending all businesses to take it upon themselves to implement indoor mask requirements.
“I want to encourage all of our businesses to, if not mandate, to strongly to the greatest extent possible all of their employees to wear masks,” Murphy added.
We checked in with Mass. Surgical Supply. One employee told us they’ve had a mask mandate in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We never stopped wearing masks because we feel it’s important to protect our customers coming in and protect ourselves,” said Liz Cocco, certified fitter at Mass. Surgical Supply.
This new change comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise within the city and across Hampden County.
Holyoke Board of Health Director Sean Gonsalves said between August 18 and August 31, the city administered over 4,000 COVID-19 tests – an increase of more than 400 tests from the previous data collected.
“More people are being tested, more people feel like they have been affected, feel they need to monitor themselves,” Gonsalves explained.
In that same time period, the city also saw an increase in positive COVID-19 cases.
“167 cases in that same period of August 18 to August 31 and 48 more than the previous reporting period,” Gonsalves added.