2020 2020: Guidance on Massachusetts Face Covering Mandate
Guidance on Massachusetts Face Covering Mandate

Guidance regarding Governor Baker’s Executive Order of a face-covering mandate that will go into effect on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

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Hello everyone,

I write to you today to offer guidance regarding Governor Baker’s Executive Order of a face-covering mandate that will go into effect on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

Infection prevention protocols can help stop the spread of COVID-19. We have already seen the effectiveness of social distancing and frequent handwashing. The use of face coverings is another tool in our toolkit to disrupt the transmission of COVID-19 from person to person.

The Baker-Polito Administration has “ordered all residents over the age of two to use a face covering or mask in public places where maintaining proper social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not possible.” Face coverings must be worn at all times while inside “grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail stores. Residents are also required to wear a mask or face covering at all times when using any means of transportation service or public mass transit.”

Simply put, if you are around other people indoors or outdoors, you need to cover your nose and mouth. You do not need medical-grade masks to comply. This equipment is already in short supply and critical to our healthcare professionals and first responders on the frontlines treating patients with COVID-19.

The CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health suggest using homemade masks. Easy solutions can be the use of scarves or bandanas. There are also ways to create a mask out of cloth material with hair elastics without the need for sewing. They should be made of a machine washable material for frequent cleaning. You must wash your hands immediately after removing a face covering.

However you make your face covering, please remember these important details from the CDC.

Your face covering should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Please note that some people are exempt from face coverings. These include anyone with a medical condition that is worsened by a face covering or children less than 2 years old.

It is important to continue practicing the following preventative measures as well:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Stay home if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing and call ahead before you seek medical care.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the crook of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

It is important to remember that face coverings and the other safety measures we take are backed by science and only work if everyone participates. We must each do our part for the good of us all. Please visit our Coronavirus Updates Page for more information. #UMassDTogether

Best regards,


Marianne Sullivan, DNP, ANP-BC

Director Health Services

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth