Massachusetts outdoor mask mandate expires Friday, here’s what you should know

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The outdoor mask mandate expires Friday and there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the announcement and masking up in Massachusetts. 

There is a lot of confusion as we approach the end of the mask mandate in the state. Just because it’s ending, doesn’t mean you can put away those face coverings yet. 

Starting Friday, face coverings will no longer be required in many outdoor settings in Massachusetts as the state continues to see declines in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

The new recommendations say fully vaccinated individuals can walk, run, hike and bike outdoors alone or with members of their household without a mask.  

They can also attend small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends. But you still need to wear a mask in many indoor spaces. 

“So, if you’re going to the supermarket, you are still going to need to wear a mask,” said Dr. Esteban DelPilar, infectious disease specialist at Baystate Medical Center. “If you go to a restaurant when you are waiting for your food you will need to wear a mask and you still need to social distance.” 

In the months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, researchers have found that outdoor transmission likely makes up a small number of infections. 

Massachusetts has a target date of August 1 for when its business and capacity limits can be lifted. 

Where and when to wear face masks?

“At this point in time we believe the vast majority of the rules that are still in place with respect to masks indoors have a lot to do with managing case counts and hospitalizations,” Gov. Charlie Baker said at a news conference Tuesday. 

Starting Friday, face coverings will no longer be required in many outdoor settings in Massachusetts as the state continues to see declines in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

Gov. Baker also announced Tuesday that the face coverings order will be relaxed outdoors, except for situations where it is impossible to maintain social distance and when required by businesses. 

The new recommendations say fully vaccinated individuals can walk, run, hike and bike outdoors alone or with members of their household without a mask.  

They can also attend small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends. 

“If you’re going out hiking or you’re out going out in your neighborhood for a walk you don’t need to wear a mask in that setting because if you are fully vaccinated and you’re out and about in an open space the chance of you contracting covid is very low,” said Dr. DelPilar. 

DelPilar added that you still need to wear a mask in many indoor spaces.  

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