Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest order mandating masks in all public places will be enforced on subways, buses and trains by MBTA police with $300 fines for violators. But the Baker administration leaves it up to each municipality to decide the role of local police when it comes to enforcing this and other COVID-19 public health orders.
At a recent “Stop The Steal” post-election rally in support of President Donald Trump in Newburyport, protesters without masks put enforcement of the governor's order to the test.
“I’m not gonna wear one,” said Haverill resident Ed O’Brien. “Let him try.”
Newburyport already had its own mask mandate for downtown, and for now, the city is avoiding confrontation. Mayor Donna Holaday said local police on the scene “relayed” their mask requirement to the protesters — though only some complied. Holaday also said the police would continue to “encourage mask wearing.”
“As a city, we may have to increase enforcement with fines issued through our health department. But to date, we have seen strong compliance with wearing masks until the rallies this weekend,” Holaday said.
Despite some mask defiers, according to datacollected by Carnegie Mellon University, Massachuetts residents have some of the highest mask compliance in the country.
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