The Massachusetts Public Health Council has voted to rescind the state’s emergency mask order.
The decision comes as the number of vaccinations in the state continue to rise and Gov. Charlie Baker’s rollback of masking regulations last month.
The mandate was implemented last year by the state’s Department of Public Health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With some exceptions, all individuals over five-years-old were required to wear a facemask or covering when out in public or unable to socially distance. Businesses also had the authority to refuse entry to anyone who wasn't wearing a mask or covering.
Lynn Squillace, the deputy general counsel at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, says these were “blanket statewide requirements” and that the state has made progress in combating COVID-19.
“Over 3.5 million Commonwealth residents are now fully vaccinated against the disease,” she said. “The CDC updated its guidance regarding mask usage in May. Following the CDC’s guidance and public health data, the governor’s mask order has been rescinded.”
Squillace explains that repealing this regulation on an emergency basis will allow Massachusetts to align with new guidance that has been issued recently.
Although the state’s emergency mask order will be lifted, the governor’s most recent set of mask regulations are still in effect.
“Commissioner Burrell issued an order regarding masks to be worn in certain settings, such as healthcare and congregate care facilities,” said Squillace.
Masks are still required in emergency shelter programs, correctional facilities, early education centers and elementary and secondary schools. A federal order requiring individuals to wear masks on public transportation also still applies.