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Boston to lift mask mandate for businesses, other venues

A server brings beverages to a group of people dining for lunch at Mother Anna’s in the North End in 2020. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A server brings beverages to a group of people dining for lunch at Mother Anna’s in the North End in 2020. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston is planning to lift its indoor mask mandate for businesses and many other venues starting this weekend.

Mayor Michelle Wu on Tuesday pointed to the city's improving COVID-19 numbers as key to her decision to lift the mandate as of Saturday.

Masks will still be required in schools, public transportation, and health care and congregant care settings, per state and federal mask orders.

Earlier Tuesday, the city's Board of Health voted unanimously to endorse the recommendation from the city's commissioner of public heath to rescind the order.

Wu said the decision was made based on COVID-19 metrics showing continued improvement in the prevalence and severity of the pandemic in Boston.

Beginning Saturday, residents and visitors to Boston will no longer be required to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, such as gyms, bars and restaurants, museums, and entertainment venues. Individual businesses may still choose to require masking.

Boston Public Schools will continue to require masking while school leaders monitor metrics including school positivity and vaccination rates following last week’s school vacation.

The masking requirement will be lifted at city buildings including for city workers, except for Boston Public Schools and Boston Public Health Commission.

Masks are recommended in city buildings where vulnerable populations are served, such as Boston Public Library branches and community centers.

“I’m grateful that our city is ready to take this step in our recovery thanks to the hard work and commitment of residents keeping our communities safe over many, many months,” Wu said.

While masks are no longer mandated in certain indoor settings, the Boston Public Health Commission recommends masking in these settings for people who are at high risk for severe illness or for people who will be around individuals who are, Wu said.

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