SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Masks will still be required, for now, in all indoor public places, at all events, and outdoors when social distancing is not possible in Massachusetts, despite new guidance from the Centers from Disease Control.
The CDC is advising fully vaccinated individuals that it’s safe in most cases to stop wearing a face covering. Many people are ready for this step towards normalcy, saying they’re eager to take the masks off, but keeping safety in mind.
It’s something many people have been waiting for; masks are no longer needed in most indoor settings. While some people are still apprehensive about taking their masks off, others say it’s time.
“If you want to wear a mask you can still wear a mask that’s your choice,” said Tyler Fassett of Westfield. “And the people who are still apprehensive will continue to wear a mask and be safe and the people who feel they don’t need to can do their thing.”
Gov. Charlie Baker’s office issued a statement on Thursday night saying the governor welcomed the new health guidelines from the CDC and would be “updating Massachusetts’ COVID restrictions in the near future.”
“In the meantime, the current mask order remains in place. The Commonwealth is leading the nation in the vaccination effort and the Administration will continue to make vaccines available to everyone who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts,” Press Secretary Sarah Finlaw said in a statement.
The more people that get out, the better businesses do.
Local restaurants in Springfield have been extremely busy with take-out and outdoor dining, but they are hopeful that this new guidance will get customers dining indoors, which has really suffered.
“I think that mental anguish will be lifted,” said John Perry, the Assistant General Manager at Student Prince and Fort Restaurant. “And even if you’re vaccinated, if you’re not vaccinated, get vaccinated. It just makes you feel that much better. Being out and about.”
The CDC, led by former Massachusetts General Hospital physician Dr. Rochelle Walensky, took a major step toward allowing the country to return to life as it remembers it before the pandemic when they said Americans no longer need to wear a mask outdoors or indoors in most cases, as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
States, however, have varied rules when it comes to masks. Baker last relaxed the state’s mask mandate on April 30 when he said they were no longer required outdoors if social distancing was possible, and he eliminated the $300 fine for mask violations.
Face coverings are still required at all times in indoor public places, and at public and private events held indoors and outdoors, except when eating or drinking.
On Monday, large venues like Fenway Park where masks are still required were allowed to expand their capacity from 12 percent to 25 percent and other industries, such as amusement parks and road races, were allowed to resume.
The next step in reopening is scheduled to occur on May 29 when gathering limits are slated to climb to 200 people indoors and 250 outdoors, and street festivals, bars, and beer gardens will reopen. Baker has said that the timeline could be sped up depending on public health metrics.