BOSTON — After 445 days, Massachusetts is hours away from getting back to normal. Effective Saturday, May 29, all of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted, allowing businesses to reopen to 100% capacity.
The city of Boston, which has erred on the side of caution in reopening, is following the state and reopening fully on May 29.
So, what does this mean for you?
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The state is following CDC guidance and lifting the current face-covering order and replacing it with a new advisory.
- Fully-vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear face coverings or social distance indoors or outdoors, except for in certain situations.
Masks are still required for:
- People using public and private transportation, including rideshares, taxis, ferries, MBTA, Commuter Rail and transportation stations
- In healthcare facilities and in other places where there are vulnerable people, such as congregate care settings
- Indoors for students and staff at K-12 schools and early education providers
- Non-vaccinated individuals should continue wearing face masks and social distancing
- All indoor and outdoor gathering limits will be rescinded.
- All industries can fully reopen with no capacity limits.
- Bars, beer gardens, breweries, etc. can reopen 100% - patrons no longer required to order food with drinks.
YOUTH, AMATEUR SPORTS
- All youth and amateur sports restrictions will be lifted.
It took a long time to adjust back to COVID-19 guidelines so it may take some people time to adjust back to life before the pandemic. Governor Charlie Baker’s State of Emergency, which was first put in place on March 10, 2020, will expire on June 15.
“Unless something really odd happens I would say it is pretty much over. But [what] I’ve learned with COVID virus is the last thing you should ever do is to presume you know everything about it,” Gov. Baker said.
The governor said, with more than 3.5 million residents fully vaccinated and the health numbers so low, there is no reason to mandate the protocols put in place over the past 15 months. But the governor also reiterated that some businesses or even local governments are allowed to keep some of the rules in place.
“If somebody has a business and asks you to wear a mask when you come in, you should wear a mask. I’m certainly going to do that,” Gov. Baker said.
All industries are encouraged to follow CDC guidance for cleaning and hygiene protocols.
We also asked the governor if there was any special message to people who may be going at a different pace with mask-wearing, social distancing and any of the other protocols. His plea to the public: be respectful.
“Recognize that not everyone is going to be in the same place psychologically as everybody else. It’s been a really hard, tough year before,” Gov. Baker said.
The governor also talked about those vaccine cards you get when you get your shots. He said the state was not going to require any proof of vaccination but did say private businesses may, so it might be a good idea to at least have a photo of it on your phone.
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