BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts changed its advisory on face masks Tuesday in updated COVID guidance released by the Department of Public Health.
The advisory no longer recommends that everyone wear a face mask, regardless of vaccination status. Instead, masks are now recommended for unvaccinated people and for those with underlying conditions or other risk factors.
“Recognizing that Massachusetts is a national leader in vaccine acceptance, and in light of recent improvements in COVID-19 indicators, DPH now advises that a fully vaccinated person should wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home) if you have a weakened immune system, if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system and is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated,” the updated guidance states.
— Mass. Public Health (@MassDPH) February 15, 2022
Masks are still required for everyone in certain settings like public transportation and in health care facilities, per federal rules.
Gov. Charlie Baker brought back the face mask advisory – but not a mandate – for everyone in late December as the highly contagious Omicron variant caused a sharp spike in COVID cases. But virus levels have dropped dramatically in recent weeks, and the statewide positivity rate is down to 3%.
Many communities, like Boston, continue to require the use of face masks in indoor places open to the public.
The statewide mask mandate in schools will end February 28.