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City of Westfield

Posted on: December 17, 2021

COVID-19 Board of Health Mask Mandate effective 12/20/21


WHEREAS, the Delta variants are still accounting for approximately 99% of positive cases in Massachusetts (source and cases of Omicron variant have started to appear in Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, Delta variants are almost twice as contagious as previous variants, Omicron variants could be found to be even more contagious; and

WHEREAS, the CDC states "Masks offer protection against all variants. CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high  community transmission, regardless of vaccination status."; and

WHEREAS, as we see cases rise in surrounding counties and communities during this winter season of gatherings, we are committed to preventing transmission, keeping our numbers as low as possible, and preventing our most vulnerable from severe illness with a new mask mandate; and

WHEREAS, according to the CDC, "Implementation of concurrent prevention strategies, including vaccination, masking, increasing ventilation, testing, quarantine, and isolation, are recommended to slow transmission of SARS-CoV-2, including variants such as Omicron, and to protect against severe illness and death from COVID-19."

NOW, THEREFORE, commencing on Monday December 20, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the following Policies and Procedures MUST be implemented at all times at all specified spaces in the City of Westfield. 

Section 1 Authority: 

This order is promulgated under the authority granted to the Board of Health under Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 111, and Section 31. 

Section 2 Definitions: 

Performers - Those singing and/or playing woodwind or brass instruments, performing artists and those speaking or presenting at events. 

Specified Indoor Spaces - The term “specified indoor spaces” shall include all places in the City of Westfield into which members of the public are invited or otherwise allowed to enter a building or structure to interact with any persons in order to or transact any public or private business, including all public indoor spaces, and shall include but not be limited to: Restaurants, bars, indoor performance and event venues, hotels and motels, gyms, fitness clubs, salons, places of worship, as well as indoor workplaces, and common areas of multi-unit buildings 

Team Sport - 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. 

Moderate Risk - Sport and recreational activities characterized by intermittent close proximity or limited, incidental physical contact between or among participants. Examples include but are not limited to: Baseball, softball, track and field, volleyball, soccer, running clubs, team swimming, volleyball, dance class, fencing, field hockey, soccer High Risk- Sport and recreational activities characterized by a requirement or a substantial likelihood of routine close and/or sustained proximity or deliberate physical contact between or among participants and a high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between or among participants Examples include but are not limited to: Football, wrestling, rugby, basketball, lacrosse, ice-hockey, competitive cheer, martial arts, ultimate frisbee, boxing, pair figure skating 

Section 3 Policies and Procedures: 

Except as specified in Section 4, masks shall be required, regardless of vaccination status, for those over the age of two years old, as follows: 

1. Masks or face coverings shall be worn in all Specified Indoor Spaces in the City of Westfield. 

2. Food service establishment employees shall wear a mask or face covering when serving customers, both indoors and outdoors. 

3. Masks will also be required in crowded outdoor public events, where more than 100 attendees are expected, and where physical distancing, of at least six feet or more, cannot be maintained. This includes but is not limited to: events held at fairgrounds/parks, outdoor performance and event venues, restaurants, breweries, etc. 

4. Masks shall be worn in the dugouts, benches, and other common seating areas for outdoor Moderate and High Risk contact team sports. Masks are highly recommended, at all times, during High Risk sporting events. 

5. Masks shall be worn while driving in city vehicles with more than one occupant. 

6. All mask or face coverings worn in accordance with this Order shall conform to the following:

    a. Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; and 

    b. Be secured with ties or ear loops; and 

    c. Include multiple layers of fabric; and 

    d. Allow for breathing without restriction; and 

    e. May be removed for eating, drinking where allowed 

    f. Disposable surgical/procedural masks, N-95s, elastomeric masks, cloth masks are permitted 

    g. Masks with exhale valves are not permitted 

Section 4 Exemptions: 

Nothing in this order is intended to encourage residents to act as an enforcement authority for the City of Westfield. Residents should not take it upon themselves to approach people in violation of this order. Residents are urged to focus solely on their personal compliance with this order. 

1. 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. 

2. Masks may be taken off in restaurants/bars only while seated and eating/drinking. 

3. Employees in shared office spaces are not required to mask if social distancing of six feet or more can be maintained. 

4. Performers who are singing and/or playing brass or wind instruments, who are performance artists or who are presenting or speaking at an event, are not required to wear face coverings but must adhere to social distancing of at least 10 feet from any member of the public when performing indoors and outdoors 

5. Face coverings are not required and shall not be worn when actively participating in water-based activities and when swimming. Wearing a mask in these circumstances increases drowning risk. Face coverings shall be worn at all times when not in water, including but not limited to indoor pool decks, locker rooms, changing rooms, and restrooms.

Section 5 Enforcement:

The person or entity in control of a public indoor space shall have the obligation to enforce the requirements of the mask mandate set forth in these policies and procedures. The person or entity in control of a public indoor space, himself or by his servant or agent, or as the servant or agent of any other person or any firm or corporation, who violates any reasonable health regulation, made under authority of this section, for which no penalty by way of fine or imprisonment, or both, is provided by law, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand ($1,000) dollars per day. 

Section 6 Effective:

This order is in effect at 12:01 a.m. December 20, 2021. 

This order, and its status, will be reviewed each month at Board of Health meetings.

- City of Westfield, Board of Public Health

COVID-19 Mandatory Policies & Procedures for Wearing of Masks or Other Face Coverings in the City of Westfield

Face Covering Sign

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