MERRIMAC — The Merrimac Emergency Management Committee wishes to share guidance with residents as a statewide order regarding face coverings takes effect today.
An order by Gov. Charlie Baker goes into effect Wednesday, May 6 requiring Massachusetts residents to wear a face mask in public if they cannot practice social distancing and maintain at least six feet of space from others. The order seeks to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in the state, and exempts those under the age of two or with certain health conditions identified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
To read the official order, click here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people, especially in areas experiencing community transmission of COVID-19, wear cloth face coverings in public when social distancing measures (remaining a minimum of six feet apart from others) are difficult to adhere to.
“We’re urging residents to take this order seriously, and to do their part to protect themselves and others in our community from this deadly virus,” Chairman of the Board of Health Matt Kirk said. “Wearing a face covering is the latest in a series of steps we’ve all adopted to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and making a face covering at home is simple and easy to do.”
Face coverings can be made out of household fabrics and materials, and should ideally have multiple layers. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, which should be reserved for medical professionals and first responders.
Per the CDC, face coverings should not be placed on children under two years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The CDC still advises those wearing a face covering to practice social distancing in public when possible, as COVID-19 is believed to be transmitted through respiratory droplets produced when someone with the virus talks, sneezes our coughs. Wearing a face covering helps prevent those who may have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic from passing the virus on to others, according to the CDC.
Key elements to remember when wearing a face covering include:
- It should fit snugly against the side of your face
- It should be secured with ties or ear loops
- It should have multiple layers of fabric
- It should allow for breathing without restriction
- Fabric face coverings should be cleaned after each use and should be machine washable and dryer safe
- Always remove the mask directly into the laundry or trash and then immediately wash your hands
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your mask
Instructions for how to fashion a homemade face covering with no sewing required can be found here.
To watch a video of Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams making a no-sew face covering, click here.