Not everyone ready to go mask-free in MA

BOSTON — COVID-19 restrictions are lifting in Massachusetts, including the state mask mandate, but not everyone is ready to go mask-free. On one of Boston’s first summer-like days, we found plenty of people masking in the sun.

“I’m used to wearing so I feel safer, [I] almost feel naked without it,” said one woman.

We saw people still masked up in Boston’s remote areas and on busy city streets. When asked, people gave us a variety of reasons why they plan to stick with it even though MA Gov. Charlie Baker is fully lifting the mask mandate in the coming days.

“No colds, no flus, no anything,” one woman told us while walking her dog.

“The allergies right now are bad, so the mask has helped me a lot with that,” another woman said.

Tufts Medical Center Hospital Epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron is not surprised people are sticking with masks.

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“There are going to be people who wear masks forever,” Dr. Doron said.

The doctor added the pandemic has made mask-wearing a part of our culture.

“There are other reasons: pollution, allergies. Those are the driving reasons for mask-wearing in Asian countries,” Dr. Doron said.

Whether it is a busy area or another reason, wearing a mask is now a personal decision, and the doctor said it all comes down to what you are comfortable with.

“If you are vaccinated, your chance of getting sick from COVID-19 is exceedingly low, so I really don’t have a rule of thumb because that is going to be your own risk tolerance,” Dr. Doron said.

Some people told us they just want to take their time easing out of their masks.

“How soon it is makes me feel a bit uneasy, so that is part of the reason why I will continue wearing [a mask],” said one woman.

“It is a change. I’m not good with change in general and I am anxious about going without it. Here I am with my mask,” another woman said.

“I hope people are compassionate with each other that everyone is going to get comfortable taking off their mask at their own rate...if ever,” Dr. Doron said.

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