BOSTON (WPRI) — Anyone out in public in Massachusetts where they may be unable to safely distance themselves from others will soon be required to wear a mask or cloth face covering, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday.

The order goes into effect on Wednesday, May 6, and applies to anyone over the age of two, including all workers and customers of businesses currently open to the public such as grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as anyone using public transportation.

Baker urged people to follow the order, saying it’s an “easy, critically important and essential step” in slowing the spread of the virus.

“It’s clear that this virus is highly contagious and can be spread from person to person without symptoms,” he noted. “What I mean by that is a significant portion of the people who carry the COVID-19 virus never show any symptoms at all but they are, in fact, contagious. That means it’s possible for a person to infect other close contacts with COVID-19 without knowing that they are infected themselves.”

On Friday, the Mass. Department of Public Health reported 154 more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 3,716, along with 2,106 new cases for a total of 64,311. The percentage of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized remained at 6%.

Full breakdown of COVID-19 data ( »

Baker said it’s up to store owners to decide whether or not to allow someone not wearing a mask into their place of business.

The face covering can be anything that covers your nose and mouth including bandanas and scarves.

CDC guidance on face coverings » | Read Baker’s order in full »

For more information on COVID-19 in Massachusetts, visit, call 211 or text COVIDMA or COVIDMAESP (Spanish) to 888-777 to receive text notifications.