The Amherst Board of Health has issued an emergency order making the wearing of face masks or face coverings in part of the Town, in order to protect public health and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (see map of area below) 

The Order

1. All persons over the age of five must wear a face mask or covering (a “mask”) as described in Section 2 below when they are in any outdoor space accessible to the public that is within the COVID-19 Required Face Covering and Mask Area described in Section 3 below, unless one or more of the Exceptions in Section 4 apply.

The use of face masks or coverings by children between the ages of two years and five years is at the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian.

Children under the age of two years must not wear face masks or coverings due to the potential risk of suffocation. 

Within the Mask Area, masks must be worn at all times, and no matter what the distances are between one person and others.

Nothing in this order shall be construed to reduce or eliminate the requirement of maintaining safe distancing of at least 6 feet from other people, excluding members of the same household.

2. Definition Of  ‘Face Mask Or Covering’

A Face Mask or Covering is anything that covers an individual’s nose and mouth including but not limited to cloth face masks, dust masks, scarves and bandanas. 

3. The Area In Which The Order Applies

The COVID-19 Required Face Covering and Mask Area is a contiguous region in the Town center: starting at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Rt. 9/Northampton Road, north along Lincoln to Massachusetts Ave., then east along Massachusetts Ave. to North Pleasant St., then South along North Pleasant St. to Triangle St., continuing southeast along Triangle St. to Main St., then west along Main St. to Churchill St., south along Churchill St. to Spring St., west along Spring St. to Boltwood Ave., south along Boltwood to Rt. 9/College St., then west along Rt. 9 to the starting point at Lincoln Ave.  A map showing the area is appended.

4. Exceptions  

This order shall not apply to:

  • Persons seated at an outdoor service table at a restaurant providing outdoor service as permitted under State of Massachusetts COVID-19 Order No. 35.

  • Persons for whom a mask would not be safe because of any of the following conditions or circumstances.

  • The face mask or covering affects the person’s ability to breathe safely; or

  • The person has mental health or other medical diagnoses that advise against wearing a face mask or covering; or

  • The person has a disability that prevents them from wearing a face mask or covering; or

  • The person depends on supplemental oxygen to breathe

5. Initiation and rescinding of the Order

This Order shall be effective beginning on August 3, 2020 at 8:00 AM and shall remain in effect until the Board of Health gives notice that this Order is no longer necessary or the COVID-19 Massachusetts State of Emergency is suspended, whichever occurs first.

6. Enforcement

The Board’s Health Agent and other agents designated by the Board shall have the authority to enforce this Order as necessary.  The designated enforcing authority may call on the support of the Amherst Police Department if necessary.

Whoever violates any provision of this Order may be penalized by a non-criminal disposition ticketing process as provided in M.G.L. c. 40 § 21D authorizing non-criminal disposition of violations of town regulations.

Nothing in this Order is intended to encourage residents to act as an enforcement authority for the Town of Amherst.  Residents should focus on their personal compliance and not take it upon themselves to approach people who may appear not to be complying. 

7. Penalties

A person who violates any provision of this Order shall be subject to a penalty in the amount of fifty dollars ($50) for a first offense; one hundred dollars ($100) for a second offense; and two hundred dollars ($200) for a third or subsequent offense.  Each day or part thereof shall constitute a separate offense.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, agents and town officials are encouraged to educate offenders and to exercise their judgment on a case-by-case basis, including using their discretion to issue verbal or written warnings before determining that a finable offense has occurred.

Adopted July 27, 2020

Area Covered By Emergency Mask Order. Photo:
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  1. Does this order apply to motor vehicle drivers or passengers? How about cyclists or joggers? Maybe the exception “The face mask or covering affects the person’s ability to breathe safely” applies to the latter, but does it apply to folks whose mask-fogged eyeglasses put them at risk or a stumble?

  2. does this order apply to the homeless/ street people downtown??
    students ?
    whats the point of a reg with no enforcement?

  3. how will we “police” college parties, and control covid spreading, as is happening elsewhere, as students return? we don’t seem to be doing the easier job of ensuring that people wear masks in Amherst, Northampton, etc. If this is not a police job, due to the current climate, can some of the police budget be used to train social workers, to hand out masks, educate, be the front line, so not to escalate these encounters? Can actors be hired to portray Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Sojourner Truth, Sylvester Graham, as ambassadors? What is the proper coordination, when police are needed? we could be an innovative lab for how this can be done with finesse and effectiveness! and NO TIME to waste, so let’s figure this stuff out yesterday!!

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