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Massachusetts city issues mandatory curfew, social distancing, face covering due to COVID-19

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A Massachusetts city has installed stiff regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Thomas M. McGee, in consultation with the City Council, the Department of Public Health, and the City Solicitor’s office, is announcing the issuance of two Executive Orders requiring residents and visitors to stay home during certain hours, to restrict certain behaviors at all times, and also relative to the operations of essential services.

“As the outbreak of COVID-19 through person to person transmission continues to significantly affect the way of life and health of our community here in Lynn, we must take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread to protect the health and welfare of all us,” said Mayor Thomas M. McGee. “Therefore, I am issuing two Executive Orders to ensure that residents and businesses in Lynn act consistently with the imperative public health mandate. These orders will ensure that the entire community can achieve the maximum amount of social distancing, while continuing to provide and receive essential services, and ultimately slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent that we can. By taking these measures now, we get closer and closer to a time where we can all be together again. This requires patience and discipline as we all work together as one Lynn. I am confident that we will get through this crisis by standing firm, and emerge stronger than ever.”

The first order requires all residents of and visitors to the City of Lynn stay at home between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. unless they are actively providing or receiving COVID-19 essential services, and sick individuals are prohibited from leaving their homes unless to receive medical care. Additionally, it prohibits all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason, and limits any concentration of individuals outside their home to workers providing essential services or individuals who are undertaking essential tasks. The order does allow for outdoor activity, but limited to activities that are non-contact or where you would come into close contact with other people.

The order also requires individuals to practice social distancing when in public and wear a cloth face covering, such as a fabric mask, scarf or bandana over their nose and mouth when entering any essential service business, in any communal spaces of a residential or commercial building complex, and when social distancing in public cannot be met. Surgical masks or N-95 respirators are not recommended for members of the general public in an effort to preserve medical PPE for healthcare workers and first responders.

The second order is relative to the operations of essential services and puts in place a number of measures aimed at protecting both employees and customers and reducing the risk of community spread. All essential services must limit the number of customers and staff inside the establishment to 40% of their existing occupancy permit. Employees are required to wear face coverings when interacting with the public or a coworker, businesses must enact a plan for the regular cleaning and sanitizing of high touch surfaces and must have visible floor markings or signage that establish proper social distance between customers waiting to enter the business or waiting to check out. The order also imposes a zero tolerance policy for gathering and loitering of customers within stores’ premises or outside of a store upon completion of sale.

The essential services order prohibits customers from entering restaurants, bars, and like establishments and instead allows business to be conducted in one of the following ways: drive-through window where customer remains inside a vehicle for the entire sales transaction including ordering, paying and receiving purchases; curbside pickup where a customer’s order is made in advance such as by phone or online and purchases are carried outside and delivered by employees upon the arrival at the establishment to the customer’s vehicle or food delivery service’s vehicle; or, delivery where a customer places an order in advance and the purchases are delivered to a customer’s location by employees or food delivery service.

The last provision of this order prohibits landlords or owners from enforcing an eviction upon a resident of Lynn, including residential tenants and commercial tenants during this public health crisis. It also prohibits a landlord or owner from accessing a tenant’s dwelling space for purposes such as general inspections, displaying units to potential future tenants and other non-critical activities. A landlord may only access a tenant’s dwelling space to make repairs requested by the tenant, repairs required as a matter of law or to respond to a life threatening emergency.

Both orders are effective Sunday, April 12th. Failure to comply with the provisions of the Executive Orders shall be a basis for the suspension/revocation of any and all City of Lynn licenses and permits and fines of up to $1,000.

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