Gov. Baker downplays new CDC guidelines on mask-wearing, citing MA vaccination rate

BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said people in the commonwealth shouldn’t have to follow the guidance from the CDC when it comes to wearing a mask.

“If you change your guidance every 48 hours, it gets really confusing for people with respect as to what it is exactly you’d like them to do,” Gov. Baker said Tuesday.

He said compared to the rest of the country, this state is doing well when it comes to vaccination rates and keeping the number of COVID-19 cases low, so he doesn’t believe the national guidelines should apply to everyone in Massachusetts.

“We’re in a very different place than other parts of the country are in, I think our guidance, which really focuses on vulnerable populations and people who are most at risk, was the right way to go and I don’t think a county-based approach at this point in time makes a lot of sense,” Baker said.

According to the CDC, several counties across Massachusetts are now at a ‘substantial’ risk for COVID-19, with three counties at a high-risk in red. Federal health officials advise people in those areas to wear masks indoors in public places, but Gov. Baker said he doesn’t agree with that advice.

Related: Which Massachusetts counties are ‘high-risk’ for COVID-19 transmission?

“Don’t pay attention to the county-based stuff unless you want to,” Baker said. “The most important thing is wear a mask if you’re going to be around someone who’s vulnerable or you are vulnerable yourself. That’s a lot cleaner and a lot simpler and a lot more straightforward for somebody to understand.”

Baker said those county numbers will go up and down with people moving across county lines all the time, so he’ll leave it up to the local town leaders and individuals to decide how to best protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19.

“For some of us, we don’t fall into those categories, maybe COVID is not as big a deal, especially if you’re vaccinated, but even if you are vaccinated among some of those more vulnerable populations, we should all be very careful,” Baker said.

>>>MORE: No mask, no entry in Revere, Brockton, Boston

As far as a mask mandate, Gov. Baker said he’ll leave that up to individual businesses on whether they want to require masks or proof of vaccination from their customers.

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