City of Cambridge Issues Emergency Order Requiring Use of Face Coverings

April 28, 2020 - The City’s Temporary Emergency Order Requiring the Wearing of Masks or Face Coverings in all Public Places, Businesses, and in Common Areas of Residential Buildings was amended on April 28, 2020: 1) to clarify that in residential buildings of 2 or more units people can either wear a mask or cloth face covering or maintain a 6 foot distance in common areas of such buildings, but that those caring for a child or for a disabled or elderly person do not have to maintain a distance of 6 feet when in such common areas; 2) to clarify that the Order does not apply to people under 5 or people with a disability or medical condition for whom wearing a mask or cloth face covering is not recommended by their healthcare professional; 3) to clarify that when employees, contractors and visitors are in COVID-19 Essential Businesses, all such people must wear a mask or cloth face covering unless they can maintain a distance of six feet from all people at all times; 4) to add a one week grace period during which the Order will not be enforced; and 5) to add an additional clause reflecting Governor Baker’s April 28, 2020 extension of his March 31, 2020 Executive Order through May 18, 2020.


The City of Cambridge today issued an emergency order requiring that face coverings be worn in all public places, businesses and common areas of residential buildings. The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, and applies to everyone over the age of five years old, with exceptions in alignment with guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control or Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Violations may be punishable by a $300 fine.

“While we are grateful to those in Cambridge who have been heeding our previous mask advisory and taking this issue seriously, we are concerned about the number of residents who continue to shop, walk, run and bike throughout the city without proper face coverings,” said Mayor Siddiqui and City Manager DePasquale in a joint statement. “We must all do our part in flattening the curve and make sure we are preventing the further spread of COVID-19. This mandate emphasizes the importance of wearing a face covering, not as an option, but as a requirement in our effort to combat this pandemic together.”

The order applies to everyone over five years old “without limitation, when on, in or about” public places, defined as:

  • Sidewalks
  • Streets
  • Parks
  • Plazas
  • Bus stops
  • Non-residential parking lots and garages
  • Any other outdoor area or non-residential parking facility which is open and accessible to the general public.

The mask requirement also applies to anyone working in or visiting an essential business, as well as shoppers and consumers. Masks must remain on throughout shifts or visits to those businesses. The businesses covered under the order, include:

  • Grocery stores or supermarkets
  • Pharmacies
  • Laundromats
  • Dry cleaners
  • Hardware stores
  • Restaurants, cafes or similar establishments where prepared foods, meals or beverages may be purchased
  • Local government buildings
  • Commercial office buildings
  • All essential businesses defined in Governor Baker’s March 23, 2020 Executive Order

In residential buildings of two or more units, masks will be required prior to entering any common area, including:

  • Lobbies
  • Hallways
  • Elevators
  • Stairwells
  • Laundry rooms
  • Garages or parking lots
  • Walkways
  • Yards and other outdoor common areas
  • Mailrooms and other indoor common areas

Residents are reminded to serve as positive community role models by wearing their masks during this order. The Cambridge Police Department will be focused on educating violators and may issue warnings to those residents who do not cooperate. For those who willingly refuse to comply, they may be subject to a $300 fine. There will be a one-week grace period to allow time to comply.

The full text of the emergency order can be found here.

As a reminder, face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing and regular hand washing, which remain among the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. The single most effective way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.

The City is committed to identifying new resources to help residents and businesses navigate this difficult time. For more information and to sign up to receive updates on COVID-19, please visit the City’s dedicated information page: https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19

More information, videos, and frequently asked questions about face coverings can be found here.

Page was posted on 4/27/2020 7:24 PM
Page was last modified on 4/28/2020 6:46 PM
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