Massachusetts town rejects CDC’s relaxation of face mask rules

·2 min read
Shoppers wearing masks out of concern for the coronavirus wait outside a store on Boston's fashionable Newbury Street, Sunday, May 2, 2021.  (AP)
Shoppers wearing masks out of concern for the coronavirus wait outside a store on Boston's fashionable Newbury Street, Sunday, May 2, 2021. (AP)

A Massachusetts town near Boston is going against new CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated people and keeping their outdoor mask mandate in place.

Brookline Town Manager Mel Kleckner said on Friday that the mandate will stay in place until further notice.

The announcement came on the same day as the state of Massachusetts slackened its outdoor mask mandate, allowing people to be mask free outside in public as long as it's possible to be socially distant.

Brookline Health Commissioner Dr Swannie Jett said in a statement: “Out of an abundance of caution and in our residents’ best interests, the Town of Brookline will not follow suit with the state’s decision to lift the outdoor mask mandate.”

She added: “Our face-covering requirement has served as a protective layer that limits the possibility of spreading Covid-19 and we are reluctant to relax it at this time without further public input and review by the Advisory Council on Public Health.”

The town's mandate will stay in force until it has been reviewed at the next Advisory Council on Public Health meeting. The council is a local panel in part directed by Dr Jett.

The CDC said last week that fully vaccinated people could stop wearing masks outside when they were at a distance from others.

Brookline’s current 14-day average incidence rate is 5.8 per cent while the much bigger neighbour of Boston has a rate of 18.4 per cent, according to state-level data.

While Brookline went against the CDC guidance in keeping their mandate, the Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees late last month put out a new health advisory going beyond CDC guidance, saying that fully vaccinated Floridians can go without masks in public.

The advisory revoked previous guidance which requires face masks whenever social distancing was not feasible, The Tallahassee Democrat reported.

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