Gov. Baker says state’s mask mandate, capacity limits end effective May 29

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker announced numerous mask mandate changes on Monday that will soon take effect in Massachusetts, including lifting the remaining COVID-19 restrictions starting on May 29.

Boston Mayor Kim Janey announced the city will align with the state and lift all restrictions on May 29.

All industry-specific restrictions will end, capacity will increase to 100% and gathering limits will be no more. Every industry will still be encouraged to follow CDC guidance on cleaning and hygiene protocols.

“People took the fact that the vaccine was the way out of this seriously and that is a big part of why we are here talking about this,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Rather than relief what I really feel is gratitude for the way the people of Massachusetts responded to this.”

And the city of Boston followed suit.

“We have good news to share in Boston’s fight against COVID-19,” Janey said. “Because of Boston’s progress, I am deciding to align with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and lift COVID restrictions on May 29.”

Janey said 58% of Bostonians have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“This is because of the efforts Boston residents have made together,” said Acting Mayor of Boston Kim Janey. “I want to express deep gratitude to the people of our city. Because of this progress, I am deciding to align with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and lift the COVID restrictions on May 29. But let me be clear, our battle against COVID is not over.”

The state is still encouraging those who didn’t get their shot to go to a walk-in mass vaccination site or clinic and get one. The state is anticipating that by the beginning of June, more than 4 million people will be vaccinated, which is about 70% of the state.

Also effective on May 29, the face mask mandate will end. The Department of Public Health will issue a new mask advisory consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance.

Face coverings won’t be required for outdoor camps starting May 29 and all youth and amateur sports restrictions will end.

Face coverings will still be mandatory 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

Effective May 18, masks won’t be required in K-12 and childcare settings during outdoor activities like recess or for youth athletes 18 years and younger when playing sports outside. Restrictions will also end on sharing objects in the classroom.

Large venues, like Fenway, are ramping up ticket sales again. Boston 25 checked Tuesday morning and it looks like starting at 10 a.m., more tickets will be available for sale on the Red Sox’s website.

On June 15, Baker will end the State of Emergency in Massachusetts. That could mean some of the pandemic perks we have gotten used to maybe going away.

One of the things the governor allowed during this pandemic to help struggling restaurants was the cocktails-to-go. That helped create a little revenue when all they could offer at the time was takeout. But on June 15, that will be coming to an end unless lawmakers step in.

The governor declared the state of emergency back in March of last year to mitigate the spread of COVID. But now that order is ending in four weeks. Some of the things that are set to expire are the cocktail-to-go service for takeout orders at restaurants.

Virtual public meetings could continue but would require people to appear in person if they want to speak. The emergency order made sure insurers covered Telehealth appointments at the same rate as an in-person appointment, but that requirement could be phased out. The eviction and utility shutoff moratoriums that helped struggling families trying to make ends meet are also set to expire on June 15.

The governor said his office will work with the legislature over the next few weeks to ensure an orderly transition once the emergency order is lifted.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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