Time For Outdoor Masks To Come Off, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance Says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/04/20/time-for-outdoor-masks-to-come-off-massachusetts-fiscal-alliance-says/

A conservative government watchdog group is calling on Governor Charlie Baker to end his mandate telling people in Massachusetts to wear masks outdoors.

Coronavirus vaccines are available to everyone 16 and older in Massachusetts as of Monday, April 19. Older people and people with certain illnesses have been eligible to receive the vaccine for several weeks.

“Those in our most vulnerable populations who want a vaccine now have that protection and with vaccines available to everyone as of Monday, it’s time to start taking steps back to normal,” said Paul Diego Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, in a written statement on Tuesday.

The governor’s press office did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday, April 20. Baker was briefly asked about masks during a press conference Tuesday, but he declined to offer a substantive comment, saying instead that he prefers to provide guidance every two weeks or so.

“We’re always looking at this stuff,” Baker said Tuesday.

Baker said on Monday, April 12 that he did not foresee lifting the outdoor mask mandate any time soon. Baker’s outdoor mask mandate executive order took effect November 6, 2020.

Some have questioned whether wearing masks outdoors ever made sense, since the theory of the spread of coronavirus centers on people being indoors in confined spaces for significant periods of time.

Whether or not it was a good idea in the past, however, some are saying it’s time for the policy to end.

Craney noted that Jane Swift, a Republican who served as governor of Massachusetts, from 2001 to 2003, recently tweeted support for lifting the outdoor mask mandate.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, who is pro-vaccine and anti-Trump, and has supported mainstream coronavirus measures, said recently that the outdoor mask mandate isn’t necessary.

Jha made an appearance on CNN’s Inside Politics on Sunday, April 18. He said:


We’ve known for a year that outdoor infections are extremely rare. They only happen when you have large, packed rallies, for instance. So if you’re not participating in one of those, I think it’s pretty safe to be out and about walking around without a mask. You know, especially in large parts of the country where infection numbers are under reasonable control. So I expect over the next few weeks states to start lifting outdoor mask mandates.

Indoors, of course, is where most of the infections happen. So I think that needs to remain for a while longer. But I think we really do have to look at outdoor activity and see it as largely a safe thing, unless you have congregations of large numbers of people together for long periods of time.


In New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu let his mask mandate executive order lapse on Friday, April 16, citing manageable coronavirus rates in the state.

Some experts disagree. Rich DiPentima, a registered nurse and former chief of state communicable diseases epidemiology in New Hampshire, told SeacoastOnline.com that Governor Sununu ended the mask mandate too soon, according to a story published Tuesday.

A Northern California infectious diseases expert, Dr. George Rutherford, said Tuesday that the outdoor masks policy in California should continue, according to KGO-TV Channel 7, the ABC affiliate in San Francisco.

Craney’s argument against the outdoor mask mandate in Massachusetts centers on the now-widespread availability of vaccines.

In Massachusetts, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel have been able to get the coronavirus vaccine since mid-December 2020.

Here are the dates in 2021 when various other groups have been able to schedule vaccination, according to the state’s web site:


February 1       75 and older

February 18     65 and older; people with two or more medical conditions; people who live in below-market-rate housing

March 11         teachers, school staff, child care workers

March 22         60 and older

April 5             55 and older; people with one or more medical conditions

April 19           16 and older



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