Beginning on Friday, people in Massachusetts are free to take an unmasked breath of fresh air — if appropriately distanced from others.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s new executive order easing the statewide public face covering requirement takes effect Friday. And while masks are still mandatory at all times in indoor public settings like grocery stores, the new rules do permit individuals to remove their face covering when outside and consistently at least six feet away from people outside their household.
The relaxed order also no longer requires — but still encourages — people to wear masks during events and gatherings at private homes, which remain limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Read the revised mask rules below, according to Baker’s new order:
- Face Covering Requirements
Except as provided in Section 2, all persons in Massachusetts over the age of 5 years old are required to wear a mask of face covering over their mouth and nose in the following circumstances:
- Public Locations
- Indoors: Face coverings are required at all times when indoors and in a public location
- Outdoors: Face coverings are required when outdoors and in a public location if unable to maintain a distance of approximately six feet from every other non-household member or if otherwise required by Sector-Specific COVID-19 Safety Rules.
- Events and Gatherings
- Public locations: Face coverings are required at all times at events and gatherings in public locations
- Private Homes: Face coverings are encouraged but not required for events and gatherings at private homes.
If a customer, patron, or attendee refuses to wear a mask or face covering for non-medical reasons, the operator of a facility, business, or event may decline entry to the individual.
“Public locations” shall mean any place open to the public, including, without limitation, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail stores; public transportation, taxis, livery, and other ride-sharing vehicles; public streets and ways; and any location, including hotels, event venues, and private publics, that host indoor or outdoor events or performances.
- Exceptions: The face coverings requirement in Section 1 shall not apply in the following circumstances.
- Where a person is unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical or disabling condition; provided that a person who declines to wear a mask or face covering because of a medical or disabling condition shall not be required to produce documentation verifying the condition, except as provided in Section 3;
- Where a face covering would impede communication by or with a person who has a hearing impairment or other disability;
- When a person is inside a personal vehicle, alone or with other household members only; provided that face coverings are required when carpooling with non-household members;
- Where applicable Sector-Specific COVID-19 Safety Rules issued by the Department of Public Health, the Department of Labor Standards, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Early Education and Care, or by any other agency authorized by Executive Order to issues such rules, permit the removal of face coverings in specific circumstances, such as while eating and drinking in restaurants, receiving dental care, or swimming; and
- In circumstances or for other populations that the Commissioner of Public Health may exempt in writing from the terms or this Order.
- Places of Employment and Schools: Where an employee or other worker is required to wear a face covering pursuant to this Order or any other applicable rules requests an accommodation so as not to have to wear a face covering at the workplace due to a medical or disabling condition, an employer may require documentation to verify the condition. If a student is unable to wear a face covering because of a medical or disabling condition and will be participating in in-person learning, the school may likewise require documentation to verify the condition.
- Guidance: The Commissioner of Public Health may issue guidance, subject to my approval, to implement the terms of this Order.
- Effective Date: This Order is effective at 12:01 AM on April 30, 2021, and shall remain in effect until rescinded or until the state of emergency is terminated, whichever happens first.
COVID-19 Order No. 55 and the second paragraph of section 4 of COVID-19 Order No. 63 are hereby rescinded effective 12:01 AM on April 30, 2021.