Somerville is one of the many regions dealing with the rising number of COVID-19 cases. And while basic guidelines such as wearing face masks and social distancing have been encouraged, it appears that stricter measures need to be in place. That includes implementing stiff fines for locals who fail to comply.
According to the Boston Herald, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone will tighten up and require anyone over the age of 2 to wear face masks to help curb down the coronavirus spread. Erring folks who fail to do so face a stiff fine of $300 if they do not comply.
“Those who willfully do not want to comply, it will be necessary that we have a fine as a proper deterrent,” Curtatone said at a press conference at Somerville City Hall. “… At the end of the day it’s about people being safe, not allowing people to become ill and saving lives.”
To give people time to be fully aware of the order, a one-week grace period will be given. People caught violating it will be subject to written warnings or fines with exception to people who are medically unable to tolerate wearing a face mask.
The Somerset County Department of Health reported a total of 2,909 COVID-19 cases Monday, 230 of which came from coronavirus-related deaths. Ninety cases come from Sommerville and the latest number of deaths was at 6.
Aside from the strict implementation of wearing face masks, COVID-19 testing will also be made available to all residents. This is regardless of their insurance coverage and immigration status, with testing already underway at the Somerville Hospital using a drive-thru format. Aside from the current swab testing, three are already planning to expand to walk-up and bicycle appointments.
All residents are urged to sign-up for the free testing at the Crown Street parking lot, which is just adjacent to the Somerville Hospital. Aware that this may not be enough, Curtatone added that there will also be a satellite facility in East Sommerville for lower-income people residing in the city.
“We are bringing testing to where the people with the greatest need live,” Curtatone said.
Aware that the elderly folks are the ones at high risk of contracting the disease, 29 veterans at the Massachusetts Bay Veterans Center will also receive a biosensor patch that will monitor respiration, oxygen levels, temperature, heart rate and EKG. The bandage-like device designed by Cherish Security will be worn on the chest to monitor them while practicing social distancing, WCVB reported.