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Mayor Walsh has a message for runners and cyclists: Time to wear a mask

Runners make their way up footbridge connecting Massachusetts Avenue and the Esplanade in Boston on April 6.
Runners make their way up footbridge connecting Massachusetts Avenue and the Esplanade in Boston on April 6.Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe

With the weather warming up and gyms remaining closed, it’s no wonder that public parks in Massachusetts are getting crowded.

But Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has a message for runners, cyclists, and others who are out and about to get some exercise: It’s time to start wearing a mask.

“I want to send a special message to runners and cyclists: even though you’re exercising, you need to be wearing a face covering,” he said at a coronavirus press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “I can’t tell you how many runners and bikers I see breathing heavily and blowing right past people with no face covering. This is not considerate to the people around you, and I understand why it’s making people angry.”

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Walsh asks cyclists and runners to wear a mask
“Even though you’re exercising, you need to be wearing a face covering when you’re exercising,” said Walsh. “This is not considerate to the people around you." (Photo: Blake Nissen/For The Boston Globe, Video: Handout)

Walsh said not wearing a covering while exercising sends a message “that you’re not necessarily concerned about the community."

“I know you are,” he said. “And to be clear, if you don’t know you’re infected or not, you can be passing the virus to other people. Other people have no idea if you had the virus or didn’t have the virus.

“This is a precaution we all have to take to protect each other,” he continued. “I understand it takes getting used to, and I know when you’re running it’s an inconvenience. I get that. If you’re far enough from other people, you can pull it down under your chin for a while, and that’s fine. But you must have it on covering your nose and mouth when you’re near other people as you’re passing. The more people who do it, the fewer infections we get.”

Although Walsh has encouraged people to wear face coverings when they’re out in public, the city has not mandated it or associated any fines with those found in non-compliance — unlike nearby communities Somerville and Cambridge, where scofflaws could be fined $300.

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Last week, when asked about the possibility of issuing fines to people who fail to maintain social distancing, Walsh said, “This is not something I want to do. I don’t want to put fines on residents who are already financially burdened.”


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