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Boston to Lift Public Indoor Mask Order Effective March 5, 2022

Masking is still recommended to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and for those with heightened risk factors

Citing improving COVID-19 metrics in Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu and Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, today announced that the City’s indoor masking mandate will be lifted effective Saturday, March 5, 2022. At a meeting held this afternoon, the City’s Board of Health voted unanimously to endorse the recommendation from Dr. Ojikutu to rescind the order. The decision was made based on key COVID-19 metrics, which show continued improvement in the prevalence and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in Boston.

Beginning this Saturday, residents and visitors to Boston will no longer be required by the City to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, such as gyms, bars and restaurants, museums, and entertainment venues. Individual operators may still choose to require masking. Public transportation, health care settings, and congregant care settings are still subject to state and federal mask orders. The Boston Public Schools will continue to require masking while BPHC and BPS leaders monitor metrics including school positivity and vaccination rates following last week's school vacation. The Board of Health will hear additional updates on COVID-19 and school masking at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 9.  

The masking requirement will be lifted at City buildings including for City employees, except for Boston Public Schools and Boston Public Health Commission. Masks are recommended in city buildings where vulnerable populations are served, such as Boston Public Library branches and BCYF community centers.  

“I’m grateful that our city is ready to take this step in our recovery thanks to the hard work and commitment of residents keeping our communities safe over many, many months,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we continue to make progress even while living with COVID, Boston will continue leading on public health to keep our communities safe, healthy, and prepared.” 

“Based on the data we have seen over the past weeks, we can remove some of the prevention and mitigation strategies that have been necessary to protect residents,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “I am optimistic about where our city is headed, and the Commission will continue to monitor our key metrics and adjust our policies accordingly.”  

“Mayor Wu and Dr. Ojikutu have guided our City through the latest surge with steady hands and thoughtful, informed public health decisions,” said Manny Lopes, Chair of the Boston Board of Health. “Based on the data BPHC has presented, we feel confident in the recommendation to lift the masking order.”

While masks are no longer mandated in certain indoor settings, the Boston Public Health Commission recommends masking in these settings if you are at high risk for severe illness or if you will be around individuals who are. There are many people in Boston who are vulnerable to COVID-19, including individuals who are immunocompromised, seniors, and those who are unvaccinated, including young children. Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator while indoors minimizes your risk of getting infected with COVID-19 and spreading it to others. Because masking offers a first line of defense when there is increased risk of COVID-19, a masking mandate may be reinstated if data show an increased risk of community transmission. Be sure to consider your specific situation and risk factors, such as those in your life who may be vulnerable, before going out without a mask. 

The best way to protect yourself and loved ones is by getting vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. While case numbers are down, the risk of severe illness remains. COVID-19 vaccines are available for all residents ages 5 and older, and widely available throughout Boston. For more information about where to find a vaccine, visit boston.gov/covid19-vaccine

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