Northampton considering its own rules as state mask mandate changes

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Starting Friday, Massachusetts residents won’t have to wear a mask if they’re outside and are able to keep six feet apart from others.

The change is going back to the way things were before the winter, but Northampton had its own rules at the time, requiring people to wear masks in certain outdoor spaces, even when people could stay six feet apart.

Alan Wolf, Chief of Staff to Mayor David Narkewicz, told 22News the Mayor’s Office is in talks with the city’s Board of Health to see what will be safest for Northampton as they enter this new chapter.

Visiting Northampton for an early birthday celebration, Eva and Claire felt it would make sense if Northampton did decide to put in place its own rules.

“I feel like in some places it’s fine because there’s lots of wide-open space, but in Northampton especially with all the students tends to get crowded sometimes,” said Eva Gray of Amherst.

Both vaccinated, the two are looking forward to hikes this summer, masks no longer required.

“We’ll have to see how it goes now that it’s loosening up,” said Claire Kendrick of Brattleboro, Vermont. “If people are standing near me and breathing on me, I’d probably prefer if people could take things into their own hands and make things stricter again.”

Northampton’s Board of Health made the choice last year to impose its own rules after it was noted social distancing was difficult in a number of outdoor spaces, like downtown and the bike path.
While the state is loosening up, Marge, a sophomore at Smith, plans to keep her mask on.

“Even once we’re all vaccinated, masks are still very important and I hope people recognize that,” she told 22News.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s weekly vaccine report released Thursday shows 49 percent of people in Hampshire County have received their first dose and 32 percent are fully vaccinated.

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