Brookline announced today masks will be required again in publicly owned indoor spaces starting Monday, due to rising Covid-19 rates in both the town and the surrounding area.
The mask requirement includes town public schools, libraries, the senior center, Town Hall and other municipal buildings. It does not extend to private facilities, such as restaurants or supermarkets, but Town Health Director Sigalle Reiss said businesses can require masks and that she urges people to wear masks whenever they're in a publicly accessible indoor space.
The Brookline Advisory Council on Public Health reviewed COVID-19 case data among Brookline Public School students and staff, and compared those rates to other school districts in Massachusetts that did not lift mask requirements. The ACPH agreed that a temporary reinstatement would be an important mitigation measure to limit disease spread and reduce disruptions due to student and staff absenteeism.
Town health officials will conduct weekly assessments of both town and countywide Covid-19 case numbers, transmission risk and other data to determine when it's safe again to move about indoors without a mask. Reiss said:
The Department will lift the mask requirement once Norfolk County drops to the CDC moderate or low COVID-19 risk levels or Brookline specific data suggests that we are no longer in a surge.
Although the town is part of Norfolk County, it is entirely surrounded by Suffolk and Middlesex counties. Reiss noted that all three counties are currently ranked as "areas of high transmission" for Covid-19.
Complete masking order.