A new milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic: Masks will no longer be required at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, at least for people who don’t have symptoms of COVID.
Mass General Brigham notified employees in an email blast last week that with the end of the federal public health emergency, Massachusetts is ending its public health emergency, effectively ending masking requirements in healthcare settings.
The federal emergency order ended May 12.
“Due to a combination of factors, including widespread immunity against severe disease, available vaccines and therapeutics, and less virulent variants, we are moving toward treating COVID-19 the way we do many respiratory viruses,” the update from Mass General reads. “Reflecting this, and in accordance with the end of the MDPH Mask Order effective May 12, 2023, Mass General Brigham, along with many other facilities across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, will end universal masking at all our hospitals, clinics, other facilities and programs.”
Masking will still be required at the Vineyard hospital and other Mass General facilities when patients and visitors are presenting with symptoms of COVID. Employees will still be required to wear masks in many settings. Hygiene stations, with facility-issued masks and hand sanitizer, will remain.
It’s been about three years since Massachusetts first initiated masking requirements, and since the Vineyard announced its own stringent masking requirements at the beginning of the pandemic.