Masks Down? Massachusetts Cities And Towns Consider Dropping Mask Mandates

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – With COVID-19 rates in Massachusetts on the decline, some cities and towns are looking to adjust their safety protocols.

The town of Sharon has had a mask mandate since the end of August 2021, but Health Administrator Leandra McLean said the transmissibility rate is still too high to end it.

“One of the things that we plan to do is to bring it before the next board meeting and see if they want to change the recommendation of how we will base repealing the mandate.”

The town is holding that meeting on February 16. Meanwhile the neighboring town of Canton appears closer to lifting their mask mandate.

“My stance is that I think we should move towards a mask advisory rather than a mandate,” said Board of Health Chair Anjali Schutt.

With Canton’s vaccination rate hovering around 80%, the town will be voting on lifting their mask mandate Monday night. Schutt said that while the pandemic is ending, the war against the virus has no end in sight.

“COVID is still here but we are trending more towards an endemic, which means it’s always going to be here sort of like the flu.”

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This comes as news broke Friday that the City of Worcester is considering lifting their indoor mask mandate, which was put in place in September 2021. The mandate applies to all businesses, retail stores, restaurants, bars, clubs, fitness centers and other “places of assembly.”

WBZ-TV reports Worcester’s leaders are going to ask the Board of Health to rescind the policy on Monday. Per a release from January 28, the city said they plan on keeping their current COVID safety measures in place until Sunday. WBZ-TV also reports that Worcester has fined more than 100 places for noncompliance.

While their seven-day average positivity rate has continued to decline to 278 cases, the city said that rate is still above last year’s peak of just under 200. The same release said 41% of eligible city residents have received a booster shot, which was up two percent from the week prior.

Data from the Department of Public Health on Friday revealed that 5,218,681 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated against the virus. Just over 75% of the population has gotten a booster shot. The City of Lowell and the town of Beverly both dropped their indoor mask mandates this week.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) spoke with health officials from two towns south of Boston:

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