The City of Boston will lift its public health state of emergency declaration on April 1.
The Boston Board of Health voted Wednesday in favor of lifting the state of emergency, which was first declared on March 15, 2020. This comes as the city and the state have seen positive trends in COVID-19 metrics.
Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said as of March 7 the city was seeing a community positivity rate of around 2.2%, down from a peak of 32% back in January. Adult hospitalizations and occupied ICU beds are also down.
"While the City of Boston is no longer in a state of emergency, we must continue to protect our most vulnerable residents and prepare for the future," Ojikutu said Wednesday. "Now is the time for us to use all of the lessons learned from the pandemic, strengthen community partnerships, develop stronger public health infrastructure, and ensure an equitable recovery for all."
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The commission also laid out a framework for Boston Public Schools to use in deciding when to lift the face mask mandate. The recommendation for schools is to review the policy when positive COVID-19 tests per day in the city fall below 10 cases per 100,000 residents, with other metrics taken into consideration. Currently, the city is at 13 cases per 100,000 residents.
The face mask requirement has been lifted for most indoor public spaces in the city.
The city has also lifted its proof of vaccination requirement for businesses, though public health officials still encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. They also recommend the continued use of face masks for those at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19, such as the immunocompromised, seniors and those who are unvaccinated, including younger children.
Face masks are still required on public transportation and transportation hubs, health care settings, congregate care facilities, emergency shelter programs, and correctional facilities.
Lifting the state of emergency will allow public health officials to focus on long-term goals for prevention and preparation for future pandemics.
"As we transition to this next phase of living with COVID, we will focus on providing the testing, resources, and planning to keep our communities safe and prepared," Mayor Michelle Wu said.