SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, alongside public health officials, announced Thursday that a citywide mask mandate for indoor and outdoor spaces when social distancing isn’t possible will be in effect starting Monday, September 13.
Health officials said this change comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise with Springfield and across Hampden County.
Residents will be required to wear masks indoors at all times and outdoors when social distancing is not possible and regardless of vaccination status.
This order is in effect until November 1. Officials said they will meet again and rescind the policy if cases go down and vaccinations go up, but at this time, the mayor and health officials said this has become the pandemic of the unvaccinated and the delta variant is wreaking havoc across the city.
Sarno said he does not want to go into another lockdown or for businesses to shut down.
“If we don’t do this, we are going to open the door to take two steps back and I'm not going to allow that to happen. I know you have been patient, I know you have been cooperative, I know you have been aggravated…but this is the right thing to do,” Sarno explained.
The increase in cases also causing hospitals to be overwhelmed. Officials from both Baystate Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center expressed their concerns today.
“This is the fourth surge and the rates of hospitalization continue to go up because there are vulnerable people in our community…At Mercy, we have seen an increase in cases over the last four to six weeks,” said Dr. Robert Roose, chief medical officer at Mercy Medical Center.
Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack added, “We’ve never had to close our doors, but we really need help from the community, especially what we are seeing can be preventative.”
Sarno said, at this time, there are no capacity limits, just the mask mandate starting on Monday.