Holyoke’s Board of Health expands mask mandate, up to a $300 fine possible | News


HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Developing news today out of Holyoke. Masks will be required in “all public indoor locations” starting just after midnight and if “the person or entity in control of a public indoor space” violates the order they could face up to a $300 fine per day. 

We’re told the Order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, October 6th.

In a press release sent to Western Mass News Tuesday afternoon, the Holyoke Board of Health reports they voted Monday night in favor of this Order.

Reasons they cited, the Covid-19 Delta variants are now accounting for approximately 99% of positive cases in Massachusetts …and cases have appeared in Holyoke.”

The Board of Health tells us, “We know that masks slow or prevent transmission of all COVID-19 variants so far.” 

Since early September, Holyoke has had a mask mandate in place within all municipal buildings in the city. 

But this new Order expands upon that. 

[RELATED: Holyoke enacting mask mandate at all municipal buildings]

This includes at places like restaurants, shopping malls, retail stores, bars, gyms, salons, places of worship, hotels and motels, indoor performance and event venues, fitness clubs, indoor workplaces, and common areas of multi-unit buildings.

According to the Holyoke Board of Health masks are being required in most circumstances for those over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status. 

“Masks will also be required in outdoor public events, where physical distancing of six (6) feet cannot be maintained. This includes but is not limited to; events held at fairgrounds, and outdoor performance and event venues,” the Board of Health reports. 

They go on to say this, “Includes any sport, which involves players working together towards a shared objective. A team sport is an activity in which a group of individuals, on the same team, work together to accomplish an ultimate goal…Masks must be worn in the dugouts, benches, and other common seating areas for outdoor moderate and high-risk contact team sports…” 

Now, there are exemptions in place for those who cannot wear a mask.

The Board of Health noting, “Nothing in this order shall be construed to require a mask to be worn by children under age two (2) or children who frequently compromise mask integrity with frequent manipulations or removals, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance or anyone who cannot wear a mask for other underlying health and safety reasons.”

Also, if you’re in Holyoke participating in a water-based activity, like swimming, you won’t need to wear a mask.  And employees in shared office spaces who social distance (6 feet or more) .. don’t need to wear a mask either.

The increased mask mandate is in effect through December 1, 2021. 

Now, if this mask mandate isn’t enforced “by any person or entity in control of a public indoor space”…they could face up to a $300 fine per day.

This is according to Section 5 Enforcement of the new Order. 

Western Mass News is continuing to follow this breaking story. Watch CBS3 starting at 4 p.m. for all the latest details. 

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