Where You'll Still Need to Wear a Mask in Mass., Even If You're Vaccinated

Massachusetts' mask order is being lifted on May 29, but that doesn't mean people will be able to go without masks anywhere they want

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Massachusetts' mask mandate is being lifted on May 29, a year and a month after Gov. Charlie Baker first issued the order.

The mandate will be replaced with a new advisory that still urges people who haven't gotten vaccinated yet to wear masks or face coverings in many cases. And there will still be situations where vaccinated people will still be asked to wear masks.

We broke down what to know, based on Massachusetts' new COVID guidance, which Baker announced Monday:

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced some big changes for coronavirus-related face coverings coming at the end of the month. Here is what you need to know about when vaccinated and unvaccinated people will still be expected to mask up.

Transportation: Taking a cab or Uber, riding the T or waiting in a station for the bus? You'll still be required to wear a mask regardless of whether you're fully vaccinated.

Health care settings: If you're at a doctor's appointment, at the hospital or getting some kind of rehab, you'll still need to wear a mask.

Congregate care settings: Vaccinated or not, anyone at a group home, residential treatment program, shelter or another place that houses large groups of people must wear a mask even after May 29.

Schools/early education: Both staff and students in schools, from early education up through 12th grade, will need to wear masks indoors.

Gov. Charlie Baker announces that all Massachusetts COVID-19 restrictions, including wearing masks, will be lifted on May 29. He also announced that the state of emergency will be lifted June 15.

Kids under 6/people for whom masks aren't safe: Children 5 and younger won't have to wear masks, nor will people who would have medical issues that prevent them from safely wearing masks, including disabilities, a mental health diagnosis or needing supplemental oxygen.

Youth/amateur sports: Kids playing sports outside won't have to wear masks starting Tuesday, May 18, followed by adults playing amateur sports starting May 29.

Massachusetts will reopen in time for Memorial Day Weekend — that's when Gov. Charlie Baker announced that COVID restrictions will be lifted May 29, including the mask mandate, though with some exceptions.

Click here for Massachusetts' full guidance on wearing masks.

Many people may not want to remove their masks right away for many reasons, like the chance that a new, more infectious COVID variant could arise.

"On one hand, I'm excited and the new normal, it's really cool," said Boston resident Megan Fantes. "But on the other hand, I am having a bit of a trauma response, like 'whoa, too much, too fast.'"

"Things are happening so quickly, so I'm so grateful for that," said Boston resident Casey Babbitt.

Massachusetts is lifting its COVID-19 restrictions on May 29th and what that means for masks in schools.

Masks have proven effective at stopping the spread of the virus in many situations. In fact, the widespread adoption of masks has been credited for a major dip in flu cases this year.

Dr. Katherine Gergen Barnett, program director in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center, said that masks have proven so effective that people should consider keeping them on in some settings and some seasons.

“We are also concerned there may be a rebound. In other words, there’s going to be more flu than ever this fall and this winter because people didn’t have it last year,” she said.

"I think we're moving, my sense is, from the public restriction phase to people needing to learn how to manage their individual risk," said Dr. Katrina Armstrong, physician-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cambridge biotech company Vaxess Technologies is working on a COVID vaccine patch. It would be used to administer a combo vaccine for both COVID-19 and seasonal flu.

Baker first issued the mask order on May 1, 2020. Last month, he lifted the mask mandate outdoors.

And last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that people who are fully vaccinated -- two weeks after their final shot -- no longer need to wear masks outside in crowds or in most indoor settings, having found that they are extremely unlikely to get a serious infection or spread the virus.

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