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Massachusetts State House reopens to the public after more than 700 days

The Massachusetts State House in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The Massachusetts State House in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

The Massachusetts State House is throwing open its doors to the public for the first time in nearly two years.

The building has been largely closed to all but lawmakers, State House staffers and reporters since the start of the pandemic in Massachusetts in March 2020.

The public will again be able to enter the building starting Tuesday.

Masks will be required, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test from no more than one day before seeking entry.

The State House's entry requirements remain in place even as the city of Boston ended its vaccine mandate for indoor spaces last week.

The building has been closed to the public for more than 700 days, far longer than nearly any other state capitol during the pandemic.

The plan to welcome back the public comes as a COVID-19 surge driven by the highly contagious omicron variant subsides.

Lawmakers had come under criticism for keeping the building closed to the public for so long.

In December, the Massachusetts House began requiring State House employees to show that they have been vaccinated; received a qualifying disability or medical condition; or received an accommodation due to a sincerely held religious belief to enter the building.

The statue of Gov. Roger Wolcott at the Massachusetts State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The statue of Gov. Roger Wolcott at the Massachusetts State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A sign in a hallway at the Massachusetts State House reminds visitors that masks must be worn in all public areas. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A sign in a hallway at the Massachusetts State House reminds visitors that masks must be worn in all public areas. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Memorial Hall, or The Hall of Flags, at the Massachusetts State House. The mural, "Return of the Colors," is seen above. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Memorial Hall, or The Hall of Flags, at the Massachusetts State House. The mural, "Return of the Colors," is seen above. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
(Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
(Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

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