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Boston’s new indoor mask mandate is now in effect. Here’s what to know

People wearing masks inside Quincy Market on Friday.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

A new indoor mask mandate for all public spaces in Boston went into effect Friday morning, part of an effort to blunt the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant as an estimated 50,000 college students arrive for the fall semester. Here’s what you need to know:

When did Boston’s mandatory indoor mask mandate take effect? How long will it remain in place?

The new mandate went into effect at 8 a.m. on Friday. Acting Mayor Kim Janey said indoor masking will be required until a recent surge in COVID-19 infections eases.

I’m vaccinated. Does it apply to me?

The mandate applies to all people in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.


Do my children have to wear masks?

Children 2 years or older must be masked while indoors in public spaces.

Does the mandate apply when I am at home or at a friend’s house? What about a gathering at a park or an outdoor area? And what about my business? We are not open to the public.

The mandate is focused on public spaces. So masks are not mandatory at private gatherings, at businesses that do not engage with the public, or events held in outdoor spaces.

Can I still eat at restaurants?

Yes. But you have to be masked except when consuming food or drink. Businesses with licenses from the city License Board can maintain licensed capacity.

What about gyms, museums, and theaters?

People can patronize stores, gyms and fitness centers, theaters, museums and cultural and historical sites — all while masked. Performers can shed masks provided they are at least six feet away from another person.

Who will enforce the mandate?

The city’s Licensing Board and the Boston Public Health Commission, with the backing of various city agencies if needed, will enforce the mandate. Janey has said that “may be part of it,” but that the city would seek to work with establishments.


I have more questions. Who do I contact at City Hall?

Business with licenses issued by the Licensing Board are urged to contact the board via email at Others with questions are asked to call 311 or email

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him @JREbosglobe.