Mass. health officials release updated face covering advisory

The state is now recommending that certain vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings when social distancing is not possible.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
A masked visitor took a break at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health released an updated face covering advisory on Friday, changing its guidelines to recommend that certain fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in indoor settings outside their homes. 

The change comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidelines for the use of masks indoors. Federal officials said the agency made the change in response to the Delta variant driving a surge in coronavirus across the country and new data, some from an outbreak in Provincetown, that showed fully vaccinated individuals who became infected by the strain could pass on the virus to other fully vaccinated people. 


The CDC is now recommending that all individuals — regardless of their vaccination status — wear face coverings in public, indoor spaces in counties experiencing “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19. That threshold is defined by the CDC as at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week or averaging a positive test rate above 8 percent.

In Massachusetts, officials are now advising that fully vaccinated individuals who have a weakened immune system, are at increased risk for severe disease due to age or an underlying condition, or who have someone in their household that is at high risk or is unvaccinated wear a mask when indoors outside their own home when social distancing is not possible.

In a statement, the Department of Public Health said the change is being made “in light of the information provided by the CDC, and in order to maximize protection of vulnerable individuals from the Delta variant.”

“All people in Massachusetts (regardless of vaccination status) are required to continue wearing face coverings in certain settings, including transportation and health care facilities,” the department said.

Read the full updated advisory below:

Advisory Face Covering Update 7 30 by dialynn dwyer on Scribd

Watch Gov. Charlie Baker discuss the updated advisory below:


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