COVID-19 Emergency Task Force
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - MAY 12, 2020
We've received a number of questions about staying safe here in Shelburne during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly about face coverings. Understanding that rules and guidelines are constantly being updated and altered, we'd like to share the following based on what we know today:
Q- So what is the rule about "social distancing" again?
It is recommended that everyone maintain a six (6) foot separation from one another. This reduces the chance that droplets from a cough or sneeze or talking will contact someone else; some people are calling it "physical distancing".
Q- Why aren't all people wearing masks when they are out in public?
Governor Baker has ordered all residents to use a face covering or mask in public places where maintaining proper social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not possible. If someone is out walking and maintaining "social distancing" (not near anyone else) they are not required to have a face covering. The only ones exempted from the Governor’s order are children under the age of 2 and those unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition.
Q- But what about on a public street or sidewalk!?
The same rule applies. While everyone is encouraged to wear a face covering when out in public, it is not required if they are alone or only close to the people with whom they normally live. They need to maintain the recommended distance from anyone else. They should always have a mask handy in case foot traffic increases.
Q- Can a business tell me I can't come in without a face covering?
Yes. The state order says that: "If a customer refuses to wear a mask or cloth face covering for non-medical reasons, a business may decline entry to the individual".
Q- What if I was to walk across the Iron Bridge only minutes after someone else - could I be exposed to their aerosolized droplets which might contain COVID-19?
Based on what we know, it is certainly possible, but highly unlikely, that you would be infected by COVID-19 in that circumstance, particularly if you are wearing your mask or face covering. We all face exposure to tiny levels of contaminants when walking on the street including radiation, mold, and second-hand smoke. We do not a have a formal study of the exact risk to you in that circumstance, but the risk is low.
Q- Is it true the police department can arrest people who don't have a face mask on?
People who violate the state order are subject to a $300 fine, and that can be enforced by the Board of Health or Law Enforcement. It is in everybody’s best interest to abide by this order, and we expect people will abide by it and make this sort of enforcement unnecessary.
Q- What would happen to me if I tested positive for Covid-19 or was exposed to the virus?
You would be contacted by a public health nurse and instructed about isolation or quarantine and given the support and resources you might need to maintain that isolation. You would also be asked about recent contacts. Their phone calls will use the prefix 833 and 857 and your phone will say the call is from “MA COVID Team” between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rest assured that they will not release your name to anyone.
Q-How can I get answers to other questions that aren’t addressed here?
Posted: to Town of Shelburne News on Wed, May 13, 2020
Updated: Wed, May 13, 2020