BOSTON — In the continuing effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Governor Charlie Baker has issued an order requiring the use of masks or face coverings in public places where people cannot socially distance from others.

Beginning Wednesday, May 6, “all residents over the age of two must use a face covering or mask in public” if they cannot follow the proper social distancing guidelines previously issued, Baker announced

"This order applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations that are currently open to the public and permitted to operate as COVID-19 essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail stores,” the Baker-Polito administration announced in a release. “Residents are also required to wear a mask or face covering at all times when using any means of transportation service or public mass transit.”

The release stated that while “a face covering may include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including a mask, scarf or bandana,” it noted that medical-grade masks should be preserved for use by health care workers and first responders.

The guidelines also advise that “cloth masks should not be worn by young children under the age of two, persons with difficulty breathing, or those who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”

The governor also announced a further expansion of COVID-19 testing at additional centers throughout the Commonwealth, bringing the total number of Community Health Centers with testing capabilities to 18.

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