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Charlie Baker says no to a mask mandate. Is it the right call?

Several towns in Massachusetts have already returned to stricter guidelines.

Gov. Charlie Baker said he won't be reinstating a statewide mask mandate, and most of our readers support his decision. AP Photo/Matt Dunham

As the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant causes upticks in coronavirus cases nationwide, some local officials are starting to consider a return to stricter restrictions.

Several towns in Massachusetts — including Nantucket, Provincetown, and Cambridge — are once again recommending residents wear masks regardless of vaccination status. Gov. Charlie Baker, however, has no plans to reinstate a statewide mask mandate. Since the mandate was lifted in late May, vaccinated Massachusetts residents are only required to wear a mask in select places like public transit systems and health care facilities.

“No, we’re not looking at changing any of our existing rules or policies,” Baker said after a press conference on Thursday morning. The governor said while local officials are free to take more aggressive action, he would set guidelines based on statewide trends.

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After averaging fewer than 70 new COVID-19 cases a day in June, Massachusetts is now reporting an average of 244 new cases a day. 

Boston Public School students will have to wear masks in the classroom this upcoming school year, Acting Mayor Kim Janey said at a news conference Thursday. The current statewide guidance doesn’t require mask-wearing at schools.

“Many of our children are not eligible to receive a vaccine. The mask is the best protection,” Janey said. “Children are currently wearing masks as they are in summer school, and at different programs around the city, and this fall, they will be wearing masks still.”

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Experts still recommend that children wear masks indoors as the Delta variant continues to spread. Children under twelve are currently ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Given the recent uptick in cases and uncertainty about the Delta variant, do you think Massachusetts should reinstate a mask mandate? Or would you rather see the state continue with its looser restrictions? Whether you’re planning to stock up on new masks or keeping yours tucked away for as long as possible, we want to know what kinds of statewide guidelines you’d like to see from Baker’s administration. 

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Let us know if a mask mandate should be reinstated by filling out the survey below or e-mailing us at [email protected]

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