Hudson Board of Health to discuss possible mask mandate in February

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Signs hung at Hudson’s Morgan Bowl asking to wear masks last summer. The Hudson Board of Health said this week that it will review the option of a local mask mandate next month. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

HUDSON – Hudson will not be enacting a mask mandate, at least for the time being.

That’s the result of a unanimous vote by the Board of Health on Tuesday to shelve the issue until Feb. 15. The delay, according to Board of Health chair Michael Delfino, is aimed at giving residents more time to submit comments on the matter. 

“We will review this at our February meeting,” said Delfino. “We strongly advise residents to follow the advisory to wear a mask or face covering when not in your home.” 

The town of Hudson already requires masks for employees and visitors of its municipal buildings, regardless of vaccination status. 

It is one of the few communities in the area, though, to not have a blanket mandate throughout town.

Community members spoke in public comments to the Board of Health on Tuesday, with multiple individuals voicing support for a mandate.

“I have medically vulnerable children; I will not go into a store with unmasked people,” said Kelly Jacobson. “It is not an option for anyone in my family to get COVID and risk the lives of my children.”

Jacobson was not alone in her sentiment. Others, like Allie Wardwell, said they are hesitant to enter businesses with unmasked patrons. 

“We haven’t been shopping in Hudson at all because of the mask issue because I get nervous to bring my children,” said Wardwell. “I work in an ICU and we’re at capacity.” 

While some argued for a mandate, some community members, like Judy Congdon, cited concerns that a mask mandate would hurt downtown businesses. 

“I’m not for mandates in general,” Congdon said. “I think the board is doing a service for the town by waiting until February to hear more from the public. This needs to be very thoughtful.” 

Surrounding communities, including Northborough, Southborough, Grafton, Marlborough and Westborough, have adopted mask mandates for individuals in public places in recent weeks.

Shrewsbury has had a mandate in place since October.

Hudson recently reported 427 new COVID-19 cases for the days between Jan. 10 and Jan. 18.

That comes after the town reported 633 cases between Dec. 31 and Jan. 10. 

Health officials encourage community members to get vaccinated. 

The town is currently planning to host a booster clinic on Thursday, Jan. 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The clinic is open to Hudson residents and registration is required