The Marion Board of Health has issued an advisory to essential businesses urging them to require employees to wear face coverings to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, town administrator James McGrail announced today.

The board did not issue an order, but requested that such businesses make their employees wear protective face coverings when interacting with the public or when within six feet of a co-worker.

Face coverings can be be a fabric mask, scarf or bandana, and should not be surgical masks or N-95 respirators as those supplies are needed by medical professionals and first responders, McGrail wrote.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, restaurants that offer takeout food, and other entities are on a list of "essential businesses" Governor Charlie Baker published in March. Such businesses are allowed to stay open during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

McGrail reminded residents that they should stay home except to purchase essential items or travel to essential jobs, and should continue to practice aggressive social distancing and appropriate personal hygiene.

Mask orders and advisories vary across the region's municipalities. Westport has issued one of the strictest orders in the state, requiring that not only workers but members of the public wear masks within essential businesses. New Bedford has ordered the use of masks by workers at essential businesses. Westport and New Bedford both threaten fines for non-compliance. Marion's advisory carries no apparent consequences for non-compliance.

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