Easthampton lifts mask mandate

  • The Easthampton Municipal Building at 50 Payson Ave. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 2/23/2022 8:49:48 PM
Modified: 2/23/2022 8:49:25 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Following a steady decrease in positive cases of COVID-19, the city has lifted its mask mandate for indoor public spaces.

The Board of Health voted to remove the restriction effective Wednesday. The current mandate has been in place since August 2021, according to Health Director Bri Eichstaedt. On April 30, 2021, the Board of Health rescinded its mask order on outdoor areas in the downtown.

The city saw a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases after the December and January holidays. From Jan. 4-10, Easthampton reported 368 positive cases. However, from Feb. 15-21, cases dropped to a reported 21. The continued decline signifies that the city is likely on the other side of the omicron surge, said Eichstaedt.

Approximately 90% of eligible Easthampton residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 80.1% are fully vaccinated, and a little more than half of city residents are fully vaccinated and have received a booster, according to the city.

The Board of Health aligns its recommendations with the state Department of Public Health’s, which recommended to no longer advise people to wear masks indoors on Feb. 15.

Updated guidance from the city recommends that unvaccinated individuals mask while indoors, and individuals who are fully vaccinated wear a mask if they have a weakened immune system, are at an increased risk for severe illness, or if someone in their household has a weakened immune system or is unvaccinated.

“We recommend that if someone feels more comfortable wearing a mask, then they should,” Eichstaedt said.

The state continues to require masks to be worn, regardless of vaccination status, on public transportation and at health care facilities, congregate care facilities, emergency shelter programs and correctional facilities. All home health care workers as well as any service providers operated, licensed, regulated or funded by the state, including the Executive Office of Health and Human Services or one of its agencies, are also required to continue wearing face coverings.

Face coverings are still required to be worn at Easthampton Public Schools. The school district’s mask policy will remain in place until the next School Committee meeting, according to School Committee Chairperson Cynthia Kwiecinski.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy