Massachusetts public health officials ease mask guidance

February 15, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Most fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts should no longer feel required to wear a mask against COVID-19 in most indoor spaces, according to updated recommendations released Tuesday by the state Department of Public Health.

There are some exceptions.

People who are fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors if they have a weakened immune system, are at increased risk for severe disease because of their age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in their household has a weakened immune system and is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated.

The recommendations do not apply to a person’s home, where masks have generally not been recommended during the pandemic.

People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a face covering or mask when indoors with others to help prevent spreading COVID-19.

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Many local cities and towns — including Boston — continue to require the use of masks in indoor public settings.

Health officials cited the wide acceptance of vaccines and recent improvements in COVID-19 indicators in Massachusetts for the updated recommendations.

People who have tested positive or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 should continue to follow isolation and quarantine guidance, including wearing a mask in public for five more days after leaving isolation or quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.

All people in Massachusetts, regardless of vaccination status, are required to continue wearing face coverings in certain settings, including on public transportation and in health care facilities.

The state has posted a complete list of venues where face coverings have remained mandatory since May 29, 2021.

The new mask guidance is the latest easing of coronavirus recommendations as the highly contagious omicron variant continues to wane.

Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that students and staff at Massachusetts public schools won’t have to wear face coverings indoors starting Feb. 28.