Mask Mandate Approved by Board of Health

Citing the sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, including the Omicron variant, Wakefield’s Board of Health unanimously voted to adopt a mask mandate for individuals aged five and over in all indoor public spaces in Wakefield. The order will be effective January 9, 2022, at 12:01 a.m. A mask mandate has already been in place for municipal buildings since September 2, 2021. The Board agreed to review the order at their March 16 meeting.

In their January 5 discussion, it was noted that masks were just one tool of many that, when combined, help reduce transmission of COVID-19. The layered approach, also referred to as the “Swiss cheese model,” recognizes that no single mechanism is perfect; it can be visualized as a slice of Swiss cheese with holes. But when the strategies (or slices) are layered together, the result is a more solid protection that significantly reduces risk. The layers include well-fitting masks, vaccinations and boosters, distancing, proper hygiene, and ventilation, among others.

Read the full text of the Order.

Any resident or business owner with questions about this Order can contact the Wakefield Health Department at (781) 246-6375.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an indoor public space?
Indoor public spaces are places into which members of the public are invited or otherwise allowed to enter to interact with any persons in order to or transact any public or private business. This includes, but is not limited to, restaurants, bars, offices, social clubs, grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail establishments, indoor performance and event venues, hotels, gyms, fitness clubs, barber shops, hair and nail salons, dance studios, and places of worship.

How will this impact my visit to a food establishment, salon, the dentist, etc?
Customers in food establishments may remove their masks when seated. Masks may also be removed temporarily when receiving dental work, during a medical treatment, swimming, or for services like facials, makeup, or shaving; masks must be put back on immediately after the service is complete.

As a business, what must I do?
All entry doors of businesses open to the public must post an advisory for customers that masks must be maintained inside the establishment. Business owners are welcome to use this sign, or they can create their own.

To whom does this mask Order apply?
Individuals aged five or older, regardless of vaccination status, shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a clean mask when in or at any public indoor spaces as well as private places open to the public. Residents and employees in multi-family buildings are required to wear masks in common areas and hallways. This Order also applies to individuals on public and private transportation systems and individuals in all healthcare and congregate care settings.

This Order shall not apply to persons who have a disability that prevents them from wearing a face mask or who depend on supplemental oxygen to breathe. This Order will also not apply to informal gatherings at private residences in which no compensation for use of the property is paid to the owner.

I operate a private office space that the public cannot enter. Must I wear a mask?
This mask Order applies only to indoor spaces where the public can access. If the public cannot access your private office space, this Order would not apply. Private businesses can create their own policies requiring masks if they so choose.

What is the penalty for noncompliance?
Violators shall be required to leave the building immediately on penalty of trespass. The director or any agent of the Board of Health is authorized to enforce this Order and Regulation.

When will this Order be reviewed?
The Board agreed to review this Order at their March meeting, tentatively scheduled for March 16, 2022. Public-meeting agendas are posted to the Town of Wakefield’s website. You can also sign up to receive news and/or meeting information to your inbox.

I have additional questions. Who can I contact?
Any resident or business owner with questions about this Order can contact the Wakefield Health Department at (781) 246-6375.