Wellesley approves face covering order, Brook Path to remain open to those adhering

Wellesley’s Board of Selectmen and Board of Health voted on Monday night to approve an order regarding the wearing of face coverings to help protect those in town from the spread of the new coronavirus. The new version of the order, truncated from the draft reviewed on Friday, is designed to supplement Gov. Baker’s face coverings order that goes into effect May 6. Wellesley’s supplemental order goes into effect at the same time.

Among the changes made were separation of rules for indoor and outdoor activity. Wellesley’s order no longer includes a proposed passage about excluding runners and cyclists from the Brook Path, though BoS member Lise Olney argued that the town emphasize the need for those on trails to wear face coverings.

BoS member Beth Sullivan Woods said she feels optimistic that more people will cover up once the state order goes into effect, noting it hasn’t been a requirement up until now. The Board of Health’s Lenny Izzo said complementary educational material will stress the need for face coverings in such outdoor settings. This will perhaps replace some of the grassroots signs that emerged over the weekend to encourage runners and cyclists to speak up.

As Board of Selectmen Marjorie Freiman detailed, based on several hundred emails received by the board over the past few days related to the proposed face covering order, people in town “have very different perspectives on what social distancing means outside and whether they in fact maintain appropriate social distance at all times.” She’s hoping a sense of responsibility will drive people to do the right thing by others.

The town plans to post its new supplemental order online on May 5.

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