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Cambridge Strengthens Emergency Mask Order in Response to Infection Rate Increase

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The City of Cambridge will require everyone over the age of two to wear face masks in indoor common areas and all outdoor spaces — regardless of whether they are able to maintain social distancing of six feet — starting Oct. 2, according to an amended version of the city’s emergency mask order released Friday.

The amended order defines indoor common areas as all businesses open to the public, as well as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, laundry rooms, parking garages, and other common areas of residential buildings. Outdoor spaces include sidewalks, streets, parks, bus stops, non-residential parking facilities, and all other outdoor areas.

The new requirements also specify that employees may only remove face coverings when working alone in an individual office with the door closed, or when working alone in an office suite. Violators of the amended order may be issued warning or a $300 fee.

In an announcement released Friday, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said the city hopes to reduce transmission of coronavirus by tightening mask requirements as people begin to spend more time indoors.

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“It is clear that wearing a mask or face covering is a key requirement in combating this pandemic,” he said.

“With people spending more time indoors, there is an increased risk of spreading COVID-19. By tightening and clarifying our face-covering requirements now, we hope to continue minimizing COVID-19 risk in Cambridge,” he added.

The amended order replaces the city’s previous requirements, which allowed people to remove face coverings while outside during the summer months so long as a distance of six feet could be maintained at all times.

Cambridge Chief Public Health Officer Claude A. Jacobs said the city has seen an increase in infections and advised residents to remain vigilant when it comes to wearing a mask.

“We’ve seen a slight uptick in average daily COVID-19 infections among city residents in September compared to last month, which includes cases at the higher education institutions as well as in the broader community,” Jacob said in the city’s Friday announcement.

“We urge residents to remain vigilant about mask-wearing and to avoid spending time in poorly ventilated indoor spaces or at crowded gatherings where physical distancing is difficult,” he added.

As of Wednesday, 1,396 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and the city has confirmed 100 coronavirus deaths.

—Staff writer Maria G. Gonzalez can be reached at maria.gonzalez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @mariaagrace1.

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