Boston city leaders recently urged people to wear masks indoors again as COVID cases continue to increase, saying the mask advisory is proactive as they try to reduce potential strain on the city's hospitals. Right now, the city’s COVID positivity rate stands at just over 10%.
Business is bustling at Adi’s Bike World. What makes it easier to keep the wheel turning is not having to monitor masks.
“If you don’t have to do it, I am actually happier, less things to worry about,” said store owner Adrian Jojatu.
The West Roxbury shop had its best year ever during the pandemic, but many businesses were not so fortunate dealing with restrictions and mask mandates. Now, the city has put out an advisory asking people to again mask up in indoor spaces.
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“Here in Boston new COVID cases have increased by more than 42-percent in the past seven days and that’s an underestimate,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission.
The Boston Public Health Commission says despite the increase, the number of severe cases is low, and they want to keep it that way, trying to pre-emptively reduce strain on the hospital system.
“We have a variant that is circulating, BA.5 that is highly transmissible. It evades immunity, and we are seeing a high rate of re-infections,” said Dr. Ojikutu.
Seventy-four percent of Boston residents are fully vaccinated, and 56-percent have received a booster.
More on Boston's COVID Risk
The President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts Jon Hurst said in a statement: “With very high rates of vaccinations in MA, and nearly 2 1/2 years into what is really now an endemic vs pandemic situation--government needs to be cautious about economically counterproductive messaging to consumers, tourists, and employees. Boston is struggling on return to offices vs other major cities, and that is hurting the viability of countless small businesses.”
Dr. Ojikutu countered, saying, “Reasonable options that are not meant to inhibit or do anything negative to small businesses or large businesses in Boston. If anything we want people to go out and enjoy Boston in the summertime."
The Boston Public Health Commission says it wants to avoid a mask mandate, but they will need to reconsider if cases get really high and continue at that level.
Click here for more on Boston's new mask guidance, including when you should wear one.