The Salem Board of Health voted unanimously Tuesday evening to rescind a mask mandate and a vaccination requirement for public spaces that it had adopted late last year in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant.
With coronavirus infections now declining, the five-member panel agreed during a virtual meeting that it was appropriate to roll back the precautions and return to a greater sense of normalcy.
“My feeling is we put these measures in place due to a crisis, and this crisis is now abated,” said Dr. Jeremy Schiller, the board’s chairman.
The board voted Dec. 22 to adopt a mask mandate, which was initially expected to last at least until March, along with a vaccine requirement for public spaces and most businesses that began Jan. 15, the Globe reported.
Salem joins a growing number of local communities that have rolled back protocols amid the decline in COVID-19 cases. Worcester’s Board of Health voted 3-2 Monday night to rescind a citywide mask mandate, following the lead of Lowell, Malden, and Mansfield, which rolled back restrictions last week.