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What you need to know about the mask requirements


Published by:

Mayor's Office

The City of Boston response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is focused on following the science and taking the actions needed for a safe recovery, reopening, and renewal of the city.

Delta is now the dominant variant in Boston and across the country. Our public health metrics remain below critical threshold levels, but have significantly trended up. In addition, the CDC has categorized Suffolk County’s level of community transmission as High and urges indoor mask wearing for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.

We can mitigate community transmission with proactive public health measures, such as Boston’s 5-Point Plan for the Delta Variant: 

  1. Equitable vaccine and booster access
  2. Vaccine mandate for city workers
  3. New HVAC investments for schools
  4. Mask mandates for school and city buildings
  5. New mask mandate in public spaces

While vaccines are highly effective and our strongest weapon in fighting the pandemic, Boston is home to more than 100,000 children, most of whom are still not eligible for vaccination. Starting on Friday, August 27, 2021, at 8 a.m., the City of Boston indoor mask requirement helps each of us protect others, and helps others protect us with the simple step of wearing a mask. 

When and where to wear a mask

  • In all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and any businesses that interact with the public in the City of Boston.
  • Indoors on the premises of a business, or place of assembly or other place that is open to members of the public, including but not limited to retail establishments, restaurants, bars, performance venues, gyms and fitness centers, social clubs, event spaces, function rooms, ballrooms or ballhalls (including private invitation-only events and functions) and municipal buildings. 
  • Restaurant, indoor bar and dance venue customers may only remove face coverings when actively eating or drinking. Patrons standing or ordering at the bar must be masked. Guests must be masked on indoor dance floors.
  • City of Boston public buildings will remain under a mask wearing requirement (including libraries, youth centers etc).
  • Boston Public Schools buildings, school buses and other means of school transportation.
  • On planes, trains, buses, ferries, taxis and ride-shares, and all other forms of public transport.
  • In transportation hubs like airports, bus terminals, train stations, marinas, seaports or other ports, MBTA stations, or any other area that provides transportation.
  • Any shelters and cooling centers.


  • If you’re not fully vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated at any of the City of Boston vaccination sites
  • It is strongly recommended that masks be worn at a private indoor setting with people outside your household.
  • It is strongly recommended that masks be worn in crowded outdoor settings or events when social distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Choose a mask or face covering that fits snugly against your nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. 
  • Choose a mask or face covering that has two or more layers of tightly woven or non-woven material AND that you will be comfortable wearing. For more information please see the CDC's guide to masks.
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