Airport commission meets briefly unmasked

A screen shot shows the airport commission meeting without masks Thursday. Though the CDC has said masks don't need to be worn at all times indoors, a state order remains in effect.

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission became the first board on the Island to meet in person without masks on Thursday. “I have a year’s worth of gaveling to do here,” commission chair Robert Rosenbaum said. “It’s very exciting to be here and see people in person.”

Citing new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the commissioners — who say they are all vaccinated — insisted the masks were not needed.

The Times reached out to Maura Valley, spokesperson for the Island boards of health, who responded with the state order, which still requires masks indoors. “Face coverings are required at all times when indoors and in a public location,” the state regulations state.

Valley referred the email with a screenshot of the commissioners to Omar Johnson, the West Tisbury health agent. He could not be immediately reached for comment.

After mentioning Valley’s email in the chat of the Zoom meeting, commissioners first explained why they were meeting without masks. Told the state order had not been lifted, they donned their masks and continued the meeting.

“The administration welcomes the new CDC guidance, and will be updating Massachusetts’ COVID restrictions in the near future,” Sarah Finlaw, press secretary for Gov. Charlie Baker, wrote in an email. “In the meantime, the current mask order remains in place. The commonwealth is leading the nation in the vaccination effort, and the administration will continue to make vaccines available to everyone who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts.”