BOSTON — Masks will be required for all indoor public places in Boston starting Aug. 27 as the city moves to contain rising COVID-19 infections blamed on the highly contagious delta variant, acting Mayor Kim Janey said Friday.
Janey’s office said the mandate will apply to everyone ages 2 and older who enters a business, retail shop, club, government office or any other public venue.
Janey said the mask mandate was being imposed ahead of the arrival of more than 50,000 college students from across the nation and a return to classes for more than 50,000 Boston Public School students.
“There is nothing more important than Boston’s safe recovery, reopening, and renewal from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “We know that masks work best when everyone wears one. Requiring masks indoors is a proactive public health measure to limit transmission of the delta variant, boost the public confidence in our businesses and venues, and protect the residents of our city who are too young for vaccination.”
On Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker said tens of thousands of state workers in Massachusetts will need to prove they’re fully inoculated against COVID-19 by October or risk losing their jobs.
Massachusetts remains one of the most vaccinated states in the nation, with more than 64 percent of residents fully inoculated against COVID-19. But cases have been creeping up in recent weeks.
School mask mandate
Massachusetts is proposing a statewide mask mandate for students and teachers in K-12 schools until COVID-19 vaccination rates increase among eligible students, state education officials announced Friday.
Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said he plans to ask the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to grant him authority to require masks in public schools through Oct. 1. The measure aims to make sure schools reopen safely and to give more staff and eligible students time to get vaccines.
After Oct. 1, middle and high schools with high enough vaccination rates would be allowed to lift mask requirements for inoculated students and staff. At least 80 percent of a school’s students and employees would need to be vaccinated to make the change.
“With cases rising, this mask mandate will provide one more measure to support the health and safety of our students and staff this fall,” Riley said.
The mandate would apply inside schools for children 5 and older. Students with certain medical conditions or behavioral needs would be exempt.
Riley said he plans to ask the board for permission at a meeting on Tuesday. The commissioner said he would revisit the mandate in the future if public health data warrants it.