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Boston Businesses Open to the Public Face Mask Mandate

Posted on August 24, 2021

Employees and customers of Boston businesses that are open to the public – including restaurants and retail establishments – will be required to wear masks beginning Friday under a new mandate imposed by Acting Mayor Kim Janey. 

The mandate is part of the city’s “Five-Point Plan for the Delta Variant” and was issued in response to rising COVID-19 cases and the coming return to school for the city’s colleges and public schools. 

All indoor premises open to the public in Boston must comply with the new order. This includes public and privately owned retail establishments, restaurants, bars, gyms, performance venues, museums, social clubs, event spaces, and municipal buildings. Patrons are only permitted to remove their masks while actively eating or drinking. The mandate applies to both vaccinated and un-vaccinated people. 

Offices and businesses in Boston that are not open to the public are exempt from the order, and not required to comply with the mask mandate. These businesses are encouraged to continue social distancing and COVID-19 mitigation efforts.  

Mayor Janey’s larger Five Point Plan for the Delta Variant includes equitable vaccine and booster access, a vaccine mandate for city workers, new heating/ventilating/air conditioning investments for schools, mask mandates for schools and city buildings and the new public spaces mandate.  

Boston joins other municipalities like Arlington, Belmont, Billerica, Brookline, Lexington, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Provincetown, Salem, Somerville, Truro, Wellfleet, and Winchester who have adopted similar mandates. 

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts increased to 1,321 this week from 53 in June. 

AIM will continue to monitor municipal and state level COVID-19 requirements that affect members.