Brookline and Boston Lift Mask Mandates
Updated: Jun 25, 2022
By Vikrant Sabharwal
The Town of Brookline has just announced that they have re-lifted their COVID-19 mask mandate for indoor public spaces. These public spaces include schools, libraries, senior centers, and other town buildings.
The mask mandate in the town had already been lifted for some time earlier on, though on May 23rd town officials decided to reinstate it. The decision to restart the mandate came as a result of a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. Cases were at their highest point since the end of January. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had designated most of Massachusetts, including the county that Brookline is in, as high risk.
However, since May 23rd, cases have been falling, enabling Brookline to lift the mandate once again. Additionally, wastewater data indicated that fewer people were shedding the virus, also which motivated Brookline to revoke the mandate.
This trend is also the case in the broader state. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reported a state-wide reduction in positive COVID-19 cases among students with cases declining to 6,106 among students and 1,941 among staff.
There are still a few locations where masks continue to be required. These include all health care facilities and private businesses that still enforce a mask requirement. The town also still recommends that non-vaccinated individuals and those at severe risk continue masking.
The city of Boston had already lifted its mandate one week before Brookline. Similar to Brookline, the city dropped its mask mandate for all indoor public spaces and their schools as well. Though, the ruling received mixed reactions for them. While some parents were relieved and happy about the news, other parents were frustrated with its timing.
Mayor Michelle Wu announcing an end to the mask mandate in Boston.
One parent said “Why now just 11 days before students are released for the summer?” while another said, “Why create more risk just as kids are about to go off to camps and grandparents?” Other parents complained about the new policy while citing the positivity rate as still being high in the city, at around 8.59%.
As an additional update, the DESE, the Department of Early Education and Care, and the Department of Public Health also updated the isolation and quarantine guidance for children, stating that asymptomatic and unvaccinated children who’ve been exposed to COVID-19 are no longer required to quarantine.
As mask mandates in our state and around the country continue to be lifted, we are returning even closer to normalcy.