Photo of Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley, Massachusetts Police Department

Week of May 10, 2020

A weekly column by Police Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley Police Department

The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.  Last week, Governor Baker announced an order requiring the wearing of face coverings.  Several questions have been brought to me about how and when they are to be worn.  I wanted to take a moment to bring it to the reader’s attention.   

 Much of the information on this topic can be found on the Mass.gov and Town of Dudley websites.  Effective Wednesday, May 6th the order requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in public places, where social distancing is not possible, took effect. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. Exceptions include children under the age of 2 and those unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition.  Everyone is required to wear a face-covering when inside grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail establishments.  It also covers public rideshares, taxis, transportation services, and other forms of public transportation. 

To comply with the law, a “face covering” must cover your nose and mouth.  This can include the standard disposable masks, dust masks, scarves, bandanas, etc.  According to Mass.gov and the CDC, face coverings should have the following: They must fit snugly, but comfortably, against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.  If everything meets these requirements, any suitable material or clothing items can be used to accomplish the task.  The state still recommends social distancing and all other previous requirements remain in effect.  This regulation is in effect until further notice and enforcement provisions can include civil fines or other charges, depending on the circumstances.  We hope to avoid issuing any fines or pursuing criminal charges and encourage everyone to voluntarily comply with this order.  If there are questions or concerns, regarding face coverings, or anything additional on the COVID-19 topic, information can be found at the Town of Dudley web site  https://dudleyma.gov/ or by contacting our Board of Health at 508-949-8017.  It can also be found on the Town of Dudley Facebook page and/or the Board of Health page.  For information from the Commonwealth refer to https://www.mass.gov/news/wear-a-mask-in-public or from the CDC check: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html .

Thanks again go out to the men and women from my department for their continued dedicated service to the Town of Dudley.  Thanks also go out to the many Fire and Emergency Services members, public works and government employees, hospital workers, grocery and retail workers, and all other “essential” personnel for their continued hard work and service thorough this situation.  We will get through this and hopefully we will be back in full swing soon, with as limited negative impact as possible. 

Thanks again for your questions and comments.  Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St., Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at swojnar@dudleypolice.com.  Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen. 

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