Boston will lift its indoor mask requirement in most public spaces effective Saturday, because Covid-19 rates have dropped significantly, Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, the executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission said today.
This includes restaurants, bars, gyms, museums and entertainment venues. Business owners have the right to continue to require masks.
Masks will still be required on public transit and in health-care, shelter and congregate-care facilities, Ojikutu told the Boston Board of Health this afternoon.
She formally announced the lifting after the board voted unanimously to support the idea.
Ojikutu said she based her order on continuing good Covid-19 numbers: The city test positivity rate is now at 2.5%, down from 32% at the peak of the omicron surge. City hospitalization and ICU rates are also below city thresholds, she said: There are currently about 187 Bostonians hospitalized with Covid-19 and ICU occupancy at Boston's nine hospitals is 87% - compared to the city thresholds of 200 hospitalized patients and an ICU occupancy rate of 95%.
The lifting does not apply to BPS schools. Dr. Sarimer Sanchez of the BPHC, said BPS will continue for now to require masks for students, in part because of low vaccination rates among younger children, but will be restoring certain activities that had been rescinded as high risk, including full athletics and field trips.
Also announced today: Boston will lift its ban on evictions on March 31. The ban was initially imposed to protect people who could not make their rent due to pandemic-related job losses.