State Deferring to Local Governments on Easing COVID Restrictions

Courtesy of Peter Schmeck

HYANNIS – As COVID vaccination rates climb and the state begins to see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, Governor Charlie Baker is deferring to local governments when it comes to the relaxation of safety guidelines and restrictions.

Baker said that around 75 percent of the state’s adult population will likely be vaccinated by the beginning of June, leading to the relaxing of orders such as the face-covering mandate. 

“That’s a heck of a lot of positive support for the idea that this is something where, in certain circumstances consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, we believe people should be wearing masks. But beyond that we’re in a pretty good place,” said Baker. 

With vaccination rates climbing and new daily case numbers dropping, Baker said he will leave it to individual communities to decide exactly what speed they move towards a “new normal.”

“Communities that don’t want to go as aggressively or as far as we’re proposing to go here, they know the facts on the ground and their communities as well as, or better than, anybody and they can make whatever decision they make. And we will support that.”

Starting May 29, masks will only be required to be worn in settings such as hospitals and public transportation stations in accordance with CDC guidelines, but can otherwise be dropped indoors and outdoors by vaccinated individuals. 

Those who haven’t received a shot yet are urged to continue wearing a mask. 

The 29th will also see the reopening of all industries in the Commonwealth, with the state of emergency officially ending on June 15. 

The possibility of a fully-reopened Cape Cod arrives just in time for the region’s summer season, which unofficially begins Memorial Day weekend.

However, the Cape still faces an unprecedented shortage in labor due a lack of foreign workers this year, which has led officials from the Cape Cod COVID Response Task Force to urge travelers and residents alike to be patient with services and workers bearing more responsibilities than usual this summer.

The most recent public health figures from the state show that 68 percent of the Cape’s population has received at least one dose, while 54 percent are fully vaccinated.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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