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Emergency Regulation: Face Coverings

Notice is hereby given that on January 3, 2022, the Board of Health of the Town of Groton adopted the following emergency regulation. This regulation shall be in place until February 10th, 2022 unless renewed by the Board of Health.

Emergency Regulation: Face Coverings

WHEREAS, based upon published reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (“DPH”), COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Massachusetts and the Town of Groton have been increasing in recent weeks due primarily to the highly transmissible “Delta variant” and “Omicron variant” of the virus that causes COVID-19;

WHEREAS, the CDC has determined that the COVID-19 transmission rate in Middlesex County is “high”;

WHEREAS, despite vaccination rates, COVID-19 poses a significant threat to the health and safety of the residents and workforce of the Town of Groton;

WHEREAS, indoor settings create an environment for the virus that causes COVID-19 to be spread;

WHEREAS, wearing a face covering reduces the emission of virus-laden droplets and reduces the inhalation of virus-laden droplets, which has proven to be highly effective to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and provide protection for vaccinated individuals as well as unvaccinated individuals; and

WHEREAS, effective December 21, 2021, the DPH advises that all Massachusetts residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a face covering when indoors and not in their own home.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 111, §§ 31, 104, and 122, and all other authorizing statutes and regulations, the Board of Health of the Town of Groton adopts the following emergency regulation:

  1. Effective January 10th, 2022, face coverings that cover the nose and mouth are required for all individuals aged 5 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor public spaces and indoor private spaces open to the public, including but not limited to businesses, places of assembly, retail establishments, restaurants, bars, performance venues, clubs, personal care establishments, health and fitness establishments, event spaces, child care facilities and preschools, and places of worship. This requirement shall apply in all indoor spaces in a workplace except where an individual is alone in a workspace and socially distanced from other individuals.
  2. Individuals prevented from wearing a face covering by a medical condition or disability shall be exempt from this regulation.
  3. All entry doors of establishments open to the public must post notice advising that face coverings must be worn inside the establishment. If an individual refuses to wear a face covering, absent a qualifying exemption in Section 2, the individual may be declined entry.
  4. Face coverings may be removed indoors when an individual is actively eating or drinking.
  5. The face covering requirement shall not apply to performers, while performing, provided that they are at least six feet away from any non-performers.
  6. Lodging guests and workers are required to wear face coverings inside hallways and other common areas of the establishment.
  7. Residents and workers in multi-family dwellings are required to wear face coverings in hallways and other indoor common areas. Notice of this requirement shall be posted at all entry doors to the building and common areas.
  8. In indoor health and fitness establishments, face coverings must be worn during all fitness activities including group exercise classes.
  9. At personal care establishments, including, but not limited to, barber shops, hair and nail salons, and massage facilities, all individuals are required to wear face coverings, except that a customer may temporarily remove their face covering for skin or beard care that occurs on the face but must immediately put their face covering back on for the remainder of the visit.
  10. On public and private transportation vehicles (including rideshares, liveries, taxis, and buses), individuals are required to wear face coverings at all times.
  11. Nothing in this regulation shall affect state and federal requirements already in effect regarding the wearing of face coverings on transportation systems, in healthcare facilities, in congregate care settings, and in schools.
  12. The Board of Health and its agents are authorized to enforce this regulation.
  13. Violations of this regulation may be subject to a penalty in the amount of $300 per offense, enforced through noncriminal disposition pursuant to M.G.L. c. 40, § 21D and § 1-4B of the Groton Code. Each day or portion thereof shall constitute a separate offense.
  14. Supplemental guidance may be issued by the Board of Health and its agents, as necessary, to clarify and implement this regulation.
  15. This regulation shall be in place until February 10th, 2022 unless renewed by the Board of Health.

Signed on behalf of the Groton Board of Health

Robert J. Fleischer, Chair