New mask-wearing guidelines take effect in Rhode Island, Massachusetts

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Masks will no longer be required in many outdoor settings in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

New guidelines for mask-wearing begin in both state on Friday.

Rhode Island has specified the new guidance applies to those who are fully vaccinated, but Massachusetts has not made that distinction.

Fully vaccinated is currently defined as two weeks past someone’s final COVID-19 shot, whether it be the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer, or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

“We know that up to 50% of COVID is asymptomatic, so if you unknowingly have it, the mask will prevent you from transmitting others,” Dr. Philip Chan from the R.I. Department of Health said.

In Massachusetts, the new guidance says people are required to continue to wear masks outdoors when unable to maintain six-feet of distance. They’re still required at all times indoors, and at public and private events, unless eating or drinking.

At small gatherings in privates homes the requirement also becomes a recommendation in Massachusetts.

Those who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear a mask outdoors in Rhode Island, unless they’re in a crowded setting or at a venue, meaning three-feet of distance can’t be maintained.

“It’s not just all about you personally, it’s about the people around you, protecting them,” Chan said. “Of course, we know that masks will also protect you, the wearer, from others around.”

Rhode Island also requires mask-wearing in public settings indoors, like Massachusetts.

Despite these changes, health officials are still encouraging people to keep the groups of people they meet with consistent and avoid crowds if possible.

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