Metro, Newton

Newton Implements Indoor Mask Mandate for Public Places

An indoor mask mandate for public spaces in Newton will go into effect on Sept. 2, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller announced in a statement on Thursday evening. 

Masks will be required in public spaces including grocery stores, restaurants and bars, performance and event spaces, salons, social clubs, and places of worship, Fuller wrote. 

“We have learned that the most effective public health strategies build among community members an understanding of the science and the evidence which in turn leads to voluntary compliance,” Fuller wrote. “Therefore, we as a City have been following a deliberate set of steps in line with the evolving data about the Delta variant and with the fall approaching.”

Children under the age of two and those with a medical condition preventing them from wearing a face covering are exempt from the mandate. Restaurant customers will be allowed to remove their masks while eating or drinking. 

All 24 city councilors urged Fuller to mandate mask-wearing inside school buildings and private businesses in a memorandum on Monday. The memorandum also called for a vaccination mandate for city employees.  

This mask mandate follows a trend in Newton and Boston toward indoor mask-wearing as cases of COVID-19 increase throughout the state. Other towns, including Brookline, Watertown, Lexington, Arlington, and Somerville, also issued indoor mask mandates for public places. 

Newton employees and members of the public are required to wear masks inside public spaces of municipal buildings beginning Thursday, Fuller announced on Aug. 20.  

The City of Boston’s mask mandate, which Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced on Aug. 20, goes into effect on Friday.

The Newton School Committee unanimously voted on Tuesday to require students and adults to wear masks while inside school buildings. 

Fuller also cited the return of residents from vacation, college students, students returning to public schools, and cooler weather as changing circumstances. 

“Our goal is to have our community continue to work together to stop the spread of this persistent virus to youngsters who are not eligible to receive a vaccine and others who are immunocompromised or face other health challenges,” Fuller said. 

Featured Image by Keara Hanlon / for The Heights

August 28, 2021