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Brookline is now requiring everyone to wear face coverings when they go outside

Customers lined up outside the Trader Joe's grocery store in Brookline's Coolidge Corner on April 8.
Customers lined up outside the Trader Joe's grocery store in Brookline's Coolidge Corner on April 8.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Starting Friday, Brookline will require anyone leaving their home to wear a face covering in public to help slow the spread of coronavirus, the town announced Wednesday night.

“This is a public health measure that I believe will be effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Swannie Jett, Brookline’s Health and Human Services director, said in a statement on the town’s website. “A face covering can be made out of any number of items or materials that residents can find right in their homes, such as a bandanna or scarf, so the transition to wearing face coverings should be seamless.”

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Other nearby municipalities, including Boston, have urged residents to wear face coverings but have not outright required it.

A spokesperson for the Brookline COVID-19 Task Force said the town had already required that anyone working at essential businesses wear a face covering, and strongly urged businesses to require anyone coming in to be wearing one as well.

The new requirement is meant to cause people to think twice before going outside without a face covering, and officials hope people will voluntarily adhere to the new rule, the spokesperson said. However, the health department could cite those found in non-compliance with a $50 fine.

Brookline Police Lieutenant Jennifer Paster confirmed that enforcement would be through the town’s health department, not police.

“A 911 call isn’t appropriate if you see people violating this ordinance,” she said. “They should call the health department or our emergency operations center.”

Brookline has taken other measures to slow the spread, including temporarily reconfiguring four high-density streets, including Beacon Street, to make it easier for pedestrians to practice social distancing.


Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss