Massachusetts State House to Reopen Next Week

Masks and proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test will be required

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The Massachusetts State House will reopen to the public next week, legislative leaders announced Monday.

The State House will reopen Monday through Friday on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Masks will be required, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test from no more than one day before entry.

"With public health data constantly evolving, we will review these requirements on a weekly basis," Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano said in a joint statement. "We look forward to seeing the public in the State House.

The announcement comes less than a week after a small group of peaceful protesters made their way inside the State House demanding that the building once again welcome visitors nearly two years after elected officials shuttered its doors.

The State House has been closed since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe and brought most elements of daily life to a grinding halt in Massachusetts.

Lawmakers, some staffers and members of the media who work in the State House have been allowed in the historic building while it has been closed, but it has been nearly two years since advocacy groups, tourists and other visitors filled its marble halls.

For months, Massachusetts has been the only state in the country to still have its state house entirely closed off to the public.

Spilka and Mariano did not provide details about how the vaccination check system would work, who would be tasked with enforcing masking requirements and whether any other changes are in store for those returning to the State House.

They are scheduled to meet with Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday afternoon and could offer more thoughts during a press conference planned for after the meeting.

Baker said last week that he thinks the State House should be open but said the decision was up to Spilka and Mariano. "It's their building, it's their call," the governor said.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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