Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is ordering residents of the Commonwealth to wear some sort of face-covering in public when they are unable to practice what is considered safe social distancing. The executive order, signed by Baker on Friday, is a just tad confusing, at least to me.

Does Baker's order mean that I don't have to wear a mask if I am able to maintain a six-foot distance between me and others while I am out in public? And who will determine whether I am in compliance? What if I don't want to wear a mask? Will I be fined? Is that even legal?

I suspect that for all of his bluster about needing to keep the state closed, Baker is preparing at least a soft re-opening and that it is going to happen sooner rather than later. Baker knows the natives are getting restless and preparing to mutiny. Being keel hauled is not a good look when you are hoping to be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.

Besides, Baker knows that the surrounding states are preparing to re-open and given the compact size of little old New England, Massachusetts residents can simply slide over the border within minutes to spend their stimulus checks in a neighboring state and be back before lunch.

Baker's mask order is the first step in announcing a soft re-opening which will begin with Mother's Day. Florists and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts have been lobbying hard to get some of their people back to work in time for Mother's Day and Baker will give in. Watch for an announcement this week if it hasn't already happened by the time this is posted.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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