In response to declining public health COVID case numbers, a high vaccination rate of 88%, and in alignment with the recently updated CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) guidance, the Amherst Board of Health, on the recommendation of the Public Health Director Jennifer Brown, lifted the mask mandate for indoor public spaces at its meeting on March 10th, effective immediately.
Masks will no longer be required in Town buildings and facilities. Businesses and other organizations may determine their own paths forward regarding masks to protect staff and patrons and may choose to continue with their own masking requirements.
The Amherst Regional Public Schools will adjust their masking protocols on Monday, March 14, 2022.
Public Health Director Jennifer Brown said, “I understand that people may be concerned about these changes to mask requirements. Individuals may choose to continue wearing face coverings whether it is mandated or not. I ask that we each respect the choices we each make about our health and well-being. I fully anticipate that there will be many who choose to continue to mask. I simply ask that the community and visitors to be kind and respectful as people evaluate their risks and make choices to protect themselves and those around them.”
Amherst aligns its policy with the recent guidance of both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) recommending masks be worn by vaccinated individuals if they have a weakened immune system or they, or a family member, are at increased risk for severe disease. Unvaccinated individuals are advised to continue to wear a mask indoors.
DPH continues to require mask for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in certain situations such as on public and private transportation (MBTA, Uber and Lyft services), in healthcare facilities including nurses' office in public schools, for home health care workers, in congregate care facilities, and in emergency shelters. Masks are also required when completing isolation up until day ten if outside the home.
A combination of preventative strategies, which included mask use, vaccination, booster shots, and testing, along with the community's cooperation helped get Amherst through the last two years. As evidence continues to show, vaccinations and boosters remain the best defense against the virus.
If you have any questions, need public health guidance, resources or materials please contact the Amherst Department of Public Health at (413) 259-3077 or firstname.lastname@example.org