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Swampscott repeals outdoor mask mandate

A woman opts to wear a facemask as others don't while walking along Humphrey Street Thursday morning. The Swampscott Select Board and Board of Health voted to repeal the town's mask mandate Wednesday night. (Spenser Hasak)

SWAMPSCOTT — Masks will no longer be required outdoors in town, effective immediately.

The Select Board and Board of Health voted Wednesday evening to repeal the mask mandate put in place in September. The rule required masks to be worn at all times in four busy areas of town: Humphrey Street, Puritan Road, Vinnin Square and the area around the train station.

“The (Massachusetts) government made it effective April 30 that masks are no longer required outdoors, and at this point we’re recommending that we follow the same standard,” said Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald.

The boards kept in place the town’s emergency order enacted on March 21 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, which will allow them to make future policy changes more quickly if deemed necessary. 

“We in Swampscott are retaining our authority to make things more restrictive at any point if we need to do so,” said Board of Health Chair Marianne Hartmann.

Town officials urged residents to continue to follow the guidance of the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors when socially distancing isn’t feasible.

“When in doubt, wear a mask, be safe, but most importantly, get vaccinated,” said Select Board Chair Peter Spellios.

The town will hold a vaccination clinic for all Swampscott students ages 12 and up on Friday, May 21 at Swampscott High School. 

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved Monday by the Food and Drug Administration for children ages 12 to 15. Children 12 and over can begin receiving the vaccine in Massachusetts this week.

“Do it now for your kids before the summer, before they go to camp, before they attend summer school,” said Board of Health member Emily Cilley. “That will make all the difference in the world for close-contact situations.”

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