Discover more from 1620Today from Jack Gately
Despite declining virus numbers, murky authority and no fines issued, downtown mask order remains
Since August when the Board of Health imposed a mandatory mask order, with a $50 fine for non-compliance, the Town has never issued a citation for non-mask wearing downtown. Rather the Town has relied upon "enforcement through education" providing masks for the unmasked by "ambassadors" hired by the Town.
Short of calling and waiting for the police, it remains unclear what, if any authority, the ambassadors have to detain and compel an offender to produce identification for the purpose of issuing a fine. Upon casual observation, compliance appears high, but not universal.
The Board of Health has not considered lifting the fine policy, even as the Town's Director of Public Health Karen Keane said late last week "the active number of cases is 95, which I think is a good number...and that number is decreasing all the time, and something important to point out."
When the Board of Health issued the order they proclaimed "this regulation will be strictly enforced in the area designated as the downtown dining/shopping and waterfront area...this order is to provide a safer environment for our community, as well as to stimulate our businesses and economy."
Part of the enforcement challenge lies with the massive area the Board of Health has designated for the $50 fine, including the streets of:
Brewster Garden, Nelson Park Ave, South Park Ave, North St, Leyden St, Market St, Court St, Water St, Pilgrim Memorial Park, Town Wharf, Memorial Dr, Middle St, Main St Extension, Town Square, South Russel St, School St, Russell St, North Park Ave, Brewster St, Carver St and Main St.