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Facial Covering Still Mandatory in Bellingham as Number of COVID-19 Cases Rises to 78

Apr 23, 2020 11:42AM ● By Pamela Johnson
The number of coronavirus cases in Bellingham continues to rise. As of Tuesday, April 28, there are 78 cases (up from 75 yesterday) and 3 deaths; 257 of Bellingham's approximately 16,000 residents have been tested. Since people can have the virus without showing any symptoms, the Board of Health deems it necessary for residents to continue to wear masks/facial coverings in public places in an effort to prevent further spread of the infectious disease COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Following is the notice from the Board of Health.

TOWN OF BELLINGHAM BOARD OF HEALTH:                                                   

The Town of Bellingham Board of Health pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 111 ss. 95-105 and the Board’s authority to prevent the spread of infectious disease deems that the following action is necessary to protect the public health.

Whereas the Coronavirus Covid-19 is a highly contagious and potentially fatal respiratory disease, the prevalence of which is increasing rapidly throughout the world, inclusive of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and

Whereas the Center for Disease Control has advised that the spread of the disease from person to person is caused by close (within six feet) or actual personal contact and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs of sneezes, and that people potentially can spread the disease even before they experience symptoms; and

Whereas, evidence indicates that workers in Essential Services workplaces such as supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants offering take-out food, and other facilities where the public has general access are especially susceptible to the transmission of the disease; and

Whereas, the Center for Disease Control, the United States Surgeon General, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, among other federal and state medical authorities have recommended that individuals wear masks or other suitable facial covering to prevent individuals from infecting others; and

Whereas, these recommendations observe that covering an individual’s nose and mouth can reduce the chance of spreading the virus as well as reduce the likelihood that an individual will touch their face; and

Whereas, the Town of Bellingham Board of Health recognizes additional measures are necessary to prevent or reduce activities that increase the likelihood of the spread of a highly contagious infectious disease; and

Whereas, the State of Emergency declared in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in the Town of Bellingham warrant emergency measures to prevent the spread of the infectious disease, The Town of Bellingham Board of Health hereby orders that:

1. All persons over the age of five (5) wear a mask, or some form of suitable covering over their nose and mouth (i.e. a homemade mask, a scarf, bandana or handkerchief) whenever
  1. entering into the inside of any building open to the public; or
  2. using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares; or
  3. engaged in any activity within a confined or enclosed facility where other
  4. members of the public are present or have routine access.

2. Every store, workplace, or other facility providing Essential Services and open to the public is required to place a sign no smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches and clearly visible on all doors and any point of entry into the facility stating that the use of a mask or other facial covering IS REQUIRED of every person upon entry into the facility and at all times while in the facility. A facility may impose stricter guidelines
as it sees fit.

3. Every store, workplace, or other facility subject to this Order is also required to wear a face mask, or some form of suitable covering over their nose and mouth (i.e. a homemade mask, a scarf, bandana or handkerchief) whenever engaged in any activity within a confined or enclosed facility where other members of the public are present or have access.

4. Every store, workplace, or other facility subject to this Order is authorized to refuse service to any person who fails or refuses to wear a mask or other facial covering while in such facility and is further authorized to expel such person from
the facility.

5. Any person entering onto any store, workplace, or other facility, and any person remaining in such store, workplace or facility, who declines or refuses to wear a mask or such other facial covering as required by this Order shall be deemed a Trespasser upon the property and may be subject to arrest and civil or criminal prosecution.

6. Social distancing of six feet (6’) shall be adhered to while inside the store, workplace, or other facility. Clear markings of such distance shall be visible for persons entering such premises.

7. Food establishments, stores, and other essential workplaces will only be permitted to do business as follows:

a. Drive-Thru or Curbside Takeout;

b. Counter service will require the following;

▪ Plexiglas sneeze guard shields shall be placed at countertops to prevent
airborne transmission;

▪ Not permitting customers to bring their own bags, mugs, or other reusable
items from home;

▪ Make disinfecting wipes and Hand sanitizer available;

▪ Disinfect all payment portals, pens, high-contact surfaces, and styluses
after each use.

This Order does not apply to persons who are engaged in permissible outdoor physical activity, riding in a personal vehicle alone in a separate, single space, or indoors with their own shelter group such as family or household members, although every such person is advised that the use of a mask or facial covering is encouraged. In addition to this Order, the Bellingham Board of Health hereby reaffirms its Updated Order Clarifying the Operation of Essential Businesses during the Declared COVID-19 State of Emergency issued April 8, 2020.

ALL PROVISIONS OF This emergency order shall be effective beginning Monday, April 27, 2020 at 6:00 AM and remain in effect until notice is given, pursuant to the Board of Health’s judgment, that the Public Health Emergency no longer exists. To the extent necessary, Board of Health officials and Police Department shall enforce this Order. Local businesses not adhering to the requirements will face fines of $100 per incident.

THIS ORDER IS EFFECTIVE AS OF 6:00 A.M. ON Monday, April 27, 2020
So Ordered This 21st Day of April 2020
Thank you for your active cooperation in keeping yourself, your family, and your community healthy and safe.

Approved at a Regularly Scheduled Meeting at Town Hall this 21st day of April 2020

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