Boston to discuss mask mandates in schools, businesses on Tuesday
Boston's Board of Health and the city's Public Health Commission are set to meet on Tuesday to discuss whether it's time to lift the city's mask mandates for schools and businesses.
"We're headed in the right direction, it's such a different place now than it was a week ago or a month ago, so we want to keep those trends going," said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on Saturday. "Which means we want to be intentional with how we change and lift our policies."
As of last week, the city's community positivity rate was at 4%. Statewide, it's hovering at 2%, down from over 20% in January. Likewise, the Boston area wastewater data — another way of tracking levels of COVID-19 infections — has dropped to summer levels.
Wu says Bostonians are to thank for those drops even though the price to pay was high.
"I know how hard it's been," said Wu. "I know how uncertain everyone feels the world is right now."
Last week, Wu relaxed the city's vaccine requirement in response to the improving data. She faced intense backlash for the mandates, including daily protesting outside of her home in Roslindale.
Tuesday is also the first day where students will not be required to wear masks in classrooms, after the Baker administration relaxed that mandate earlier this month.
Wu says there's a lot to consider on when and if to remove the district's own mask mandate, including the end of school vacation week on Sunday.
"That means a lot of families have been out and about and traveling, so we just want to look at the numbers a little bit to make sure that a lot of that exposure in other places, to see how that's affecting our numbers and transmission here in Boston," said Wu.
Tuesday's meeting comes as the Centers for Disease Control changed its guidance on mask wearing, saying people in roughly 70% of the country do not need to be wearing masks indoors right now.