MA DPH updates indoor mask recommendations for vaccinated residents

BOSTON — The state’s Department of Public Health released updated guidelines on indoor mask-wearing for fully vaccinated individuals Friday.

The department recommended that fully vaccinated individuals wear face coverings indoors when they are not in their own homes if they have weakened immune systems or are at an increased risk because of age or preexisting conditions.

>>>MORE: DESE, DPH unveils new guidance on masks, vaccination clinics for MA schools

DPH also recommended residents wear masks inside when they are not at home if someone in their household has a preexisting condition, a weakened immune system or is unvaccinated.

“All people in Massachusetts (regardless of vaccination status) are required to continue wearing face coverings in certain settings, including transportation and health care facilities,” DPH wrote Friday.

“This new guidance was developed to be as simple and as straightforward as possible,” said MA Gov. Charlie Baker. “We also tailored it to Massachusetts. We’ve made significant progress in the COVID fight, we lead the nation in vaccination rates among big states, and, as a result, we have one of the lowest hospitalization rates in the country.”

Baker said the advisory is statewide, not just in communities with high transmission rates.

“It shouldn’t matter what county you live in or what town you live in, you should just do that because you are in many respects part of the population that has the most to lose here,” Baker said.

The recommendation came after a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that discussed the dangers of the new delta variant. The report said the variant can be much more severe, is as contagious as chickenpox and can be easily transmitted by unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike.

In light of this, the CDC issued new guidance that all Americans should wear masks indoors in places where the virus is spreading.

“I just want them to just give us a clear advisory and be consistent,” said Shauna Pulley of Woburn. “Just let us know what we need to do, and if it’s not changing week from week, that would be very helpful. We’re getting adjusted to freedoms and being able to not wear the mask, and all of a sudden we have to wear the mask, then we’re back confused. What’s the value of getting vaccinated if we have to wear the mask?”

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