Southborough lifts municipal building mask mandate

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Southborough lifts municipal building mask mandate
Masks are no longer required in Southborough municipal buildings following a vote by the Board of Selectmen. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

SOUTHBOROUGH – The Southborough Board of Health, which has recently voted to lift their broader municipal mask mandate, recommended this week that the Select Board lift the town’s mandate for municipal buildings. 

In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, the Select Board voted to, indeed, rescind the mandate, which was enacted back in August of last year. 

Town officials noted that employees or visitors to municipal facilities still have the option to wear masks.

“There may be employees who have immunocompromised folks at home or for whatever reason were not able to vaccinate themselves,” said Board of Health member Safdar Medina. 

Massachusetts recently loosened its mask requirements for vaccinated individuals.

Select Board member Andrew Dennington initially expressed concerns regarding lifting this mandate in Southborough, though.

“I came into this thinking this is something that can wait a few more weeks,” he. “This is an unscientific cautious sense to wait for rates to fall even further.” 

According to Southborough Public Health Nurse Taylor West, local COVID-19 cases have dropped dramatically in recent weeks. 

“I would say each week they half, every week,” West said. “Last week we had 15 cases.”

That, she said, was roughly equal to the case rates seen before the recent case surge connected to the coronavirus’ omicron variant. 

Dennington ultimately voted in favor of lifting the mandate.

Public Health Director Heather Alker noted that the town has the ability to remain dynamic with the current public health outlook.

“We’ve shown that we’re nimble,” said Alker. “We put this one in the fall when rates started going up again. “I think we’re noble in following what’s happening right now.” 

The mandate transitioned to an advisory for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals effective on Thursday. 

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