Amid Uptick In COVID Cases, Boston Museums Mandate Masks Again

Museum-lovers, take note: Many popular Boston museums are bringing back mask-wearing mandates to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Starting Saturday, the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art will require visitors to wear face coverings indoors.

These fixtures in the city's arts scene said that amid recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting masks be worn indoors in places with higher risks of transmission, they are changing their own policies for the safety of their visitors and staffers.

The MFA also said masks need to be worn in its outdoor areas, too.

Other arts venues, like Club Passim in Cambridge, now require patrons to prove they are vaccinated before allowing them to enter.

Managing Director Matt Smith said the decision was a difficult one, but starting Friday, all patrons, performers and staff at the club will be asked to prove they've been inoculated.

"We know it's going to be upsetting to some people, but this is more about a public health issue at large than it is about the individual," Smith said.

For months, as business restrictions were lifted by the Baker administration at the end of May, patrons have largely made their own decisions about whether to shed masks or other COVID precautions.

On Thursday, Massachusetts' Department of Public Health reported more than 1,000 new positive coronavirus tests — the highest single-day number since May.


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