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Boston Aligns With State And Is Set To Relax Business Restrictions On May 29

Boston will drop nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions for businesses, beginning on May 29. This aligns with the state's newly fast-tracked timeline for loosening statewide industry precautions.

The city's website also indicates Boston won't deviate from the state's decision to rescind the mask order.

However, in her announcement on Monday, Acting Mayor Kim Janey emphasized how it's important to keep using the health practices that have kept people healthy throughout the pandemic.

"Even with our mask on, we can breathe easier knowing we are protected and that we're protecting others. We know what works in Boston. We have created a culture of wearing masks, washing our hands and keeping our distance that keeps us safe," she said. "Let's keep it up."

Janey's update on the city's COVID rules came just a few hours after Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday the state would move up its date for what is essentially a full reopening by about two months. On Saturday, May 29, Massachusetts will dispense with nearly all industry regulations due to COVID-19.

Individual businesses can require masks or other COVID-related rules past May 29. Across the state, people will still be required to wear masks on public and private transportation, including ride-hailing services, as well as inside health care settings, schools and congregate living settings.

The state sped up the reopening date to reflect the new guidance around masks released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in almost all outdoor and indoor situations.

In addition, Baker said he moved up the date because Massachusetts is also on track to meet its goal of inoculating 4.1 million people by early June.

Baker will also lift the state of emergency on June 15.

Janey added Monday that Boston will put $3 million toward getting vaccines to city neighborhoods that need them most. Noting that while 58% of city residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, Janey said only 30% of Black and brown Bostonions have been vaccinated.

Throughout the pandemic, Baker has allowed cities and towns to move at their own reopening pace. Boston and Somerville, for example, have often delayed by several weeks the loosening of restrictions first announced by the state.

This story is developing and will be updated.

This article was originally published on May 17, 2021.

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Lisa Creamer Twitter Managing Editor, Digital
Lisa Creamer is WBUR's digital managing editor.

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