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City of Cambridge to Provide Thousands of Masks to Residents in Need

caution sign The information on this page may be outdated as it was published 4 years ago.


May 1, 2020

Due to high demand from the community over the last two days, the City of Cambridge’s supply of free face masks will now be limited on a temporary basis.

  • Distribution at the city’s drive thru-sites (Tobin Elementary School at 197 Vassal Lane in West Cambridge and Kennedy-Longfellow Elementary School at 158 Spring Street in East Cambridge) will continue to operate on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. or until supplies are depleted.
  • Masks will continue to be available outside the Cambridge Police Department, which is located at 125 6th Street, but only between the hours of 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. or until daily supplies are depleted.  
  • Officers in marked Cambridge Police cruisers have a limited supply of masks to distribute along with resource information if they encounter residents without face coverings during their calls for service.
  • Due to the limited volume, masks are temporarily unavailable at the City’s meal distribution sites. Service will look to resume by the end of next week as supplies are replenished.   


If residents or organizations are looking to buy or make their own masks and face coverings, please visit https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/facecoverings for more information.




April 29, 2020

The City of Cambridge today announced a new initiative in which thousands of face masks will be distributed by members of the Cambridge Police Department to residents throughout the community beginning Thursday, April 30. The new initiative is in part made possible by a large donation of masks from the MA Chinese Community and Fo Guang Buddhist Temple to the Office of Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui.

The City of Cambridge originally began disseminating available masks to its most vulnerable populations,including residents living at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, homeless shelters and the Cambridge Housing Authority. This new program will allow the City to broaden its mask distribution program as a temporary emergency order requiring face coverings to be worn in all public places, businesses and common areas of residential buildings in Cambridge went into effect today. The order applies to everyone over the age of five years old. A one-week grace period to provide time for residents to comply is in effect through Tuesday, May 5. The full text of this week’s emergency order can be found at https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/facecoverings.

“The City’s order requiring face coverings in public settings is intended to protect our residents – not punish them. There is clear evidence that many people who are infected will never show symptoms and may unwillingly be spreading the virus if they are not taking preventative measures like covering their face,” said Mayor Siddiqui and City Manager DePasquale in a joint statement. We have built in a one-week grace period. Following that timeframe, our Police Department will exclusively focus on education for a few weeks when encountering someone without a face covering. Their primary focus after that point will be on education.We need everyone in Cambridge to take this order seriously and do their best to comply. Face coverings are not simply about protecting the person wearing it – they are about protecting others in the community and we all must do our part."

If a member of the public sees someone without a face covering, it could be due to an underlying health issue or exempted category. Please leave monitoring, education and any necessary enforcement to public safety officials.

“As a City and Police Department, our goal during the order is to make masks and prevention information available to as many residents in need as possible,” said Police Commissioner Branville Bard, Jr. “The priority for our police officers is to not issufines, but rather to make residents aware of the importance of wearing a face mask and provide them one if needed.”

Masks will be made available to residents on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last and quantities will be limited to the number of residents in a household. Masks will be made available at the following locations and through various city resources:

Meal Distribution Sites

Every weekday, Cambridge Public Schools, volunteers and members of Food for Free are packing and distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches to residents at locations throughout the city. Cambridge families who are facing food challenges have been welcomed to pick up one bag per child/youth. Residents can now also pick up masks from Officers at those locations between 11 a.m.-1 p.m., if they have a need.

  • Haggerty School: Cushing Street main entrance
  • Peabody School: Rindge Avenue main entrance
  • King Open School: Cambridge Street main entrance
  • Morse School: Granite Street main entrance
  • Dr. Martin Luther King School, Jr.: Magee Street Entrance
  • Fletcher Maynard Academy: Harvard St
  • 35 Cambridge Park Drive: Look for the yellow school bus
  • 362-364 Rindge Avenue: Look for the yellow school bus

Distribution Drive-Thrus & Dispenser Site

There will be two drive-thru mask distribution sites and a dispenser site at the Cambridge Police Department

  • Drive-thru sites will be at the Tobin Elementary School at 197 Vassal Lane in West Cambridge and Kennedy-Longfellow Elementary School at 158 Spring Street in East Cambridge. The hours will be 3-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 
  • Masks will also be available in dispenser outside the Cambridge Police Department, which is located at 125 6th Street. Officers at the front desk inside the Cambridge Police Department will also have a supply available. 

Police Officers to Distribute on Patrol 

Officers in every marked Cambridge Police cruiser will have a supply of masks to distribute if they encounter residents without them during calls for service. Additionally, Homeless Outreach Officers will have an available supply and will proactively seek out and provide masks to residents who may not have access to a mask. 

Residents who already have masks and/or the resources at home to make cloth masks are encouraged to defer supplies to those residents and families who are most in need. 

As a reminder, face coveringare not a substitute for physical distancing and regular hand washing, which remain among the most effective ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The single most effective way to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus is to stay home. More information, videos, and frequently asked questions about face coverings can be found at https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/facecoverings.

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

Page was posted on 4/29/2020 6:08 PM
Page was last modified on 7/25/2023 12:33 AM
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