By May 29, more than two months ahead of the schedule previously announced, Massachusetts intends to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions and the state of emergency that's been in place since March 10, 2020 will be lifted June 15, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday morning.
Boston will follow suit, according to Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who said the city will align with the state's timeframe and not lag behind as it did in previous re-opening phases.
The state's requirement that people wear face coverings will go away May 29 and be replaced by an advisory consistent with the recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidance that vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask in most settings.
Masks will still be required on transportation, in health care settings, schools and congregate living settings regardless of vaccination status.
Effective Tuesday, guidance for youth and amateur sports will be updated to allow kids under the age of 18 to play outdoor sports without having to wear a mask.
In a press conference at the State House, Baker said the accelerated reopening timeline -- May 29 was initially going to be the next, but not final, step towards a more complete reopening -- is made possible by a vaccination effort that has the state in line to meet its goal of vaccinating 4.1 million residents by the first week of June.
"Massachusetts is effectively battling back in its campaign against the virus," Baker said Monday. "Nearly every student in the state is back in the classroom and we've reopened nearly every industry. We're safer, smarter, and better equipped in this fight than any time since it began."
Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10, 2020 to deal with the coronavirus that was just beginning to surge across the planet and his administration's restrictions, guidelines and executive orders have shaded nearly all aspects of life in the Bay State since then.
He said Monday that imposing restrictions on businesses and civic life were among the hardest decisions he has had to make as governor and acknowledged that the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will linger for a long time.