State eases indoor face-mask guidance

Fully vaccinated can shed face coverings in many spaces


THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT of Public Health on Tuesday relaxed its face-covering advisory, publishing an updated version that no longer recommends vaccinated individuals mask up in all indoor spaces.

Instead, the latest iteration of an advisory that has been in place since Gov. Charlie Baker in May 2021 lifted the state’s universal mask mandate now says that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear a mask indoors if they have a weakened immune system or if their age or an underlying condition puts them at increased risk of severe disease. Fully vaccinated individuals are also advised to cover their faces if they live with someone who is unvaccinated, has a weakened immune system or faces a greater risk of severe disease.

State public health officials continue to advise that people who are not fully vaccinated wear masks when indoors with others, and masks remain required in certain settings like public transportation and hospitals.

The masking recommendations announced Tuesday align with those previously in place for the summer and fall of 2021. Amid a winter surge in COVID-19 cases, the DPH last December advised that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public spaces.

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Katie Lannan

State House News Service
Tuesday’s update comes with case counts and hospitalizations having dropped significantly from January peaks driven by the omicron variant, and as the Baker administration’s mask mandate for K-12 public schools is set to lift at the end of the month.

The State House, meanwhile, is set to reopen in a week after nearly two years closed to the public, and Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano have said masks will be required in the building. While some cities and towns have eased their local-level mask policies, Boston’s mandate remains in effect.