The Worcester Board of Health will vote again on a measure to lift the city’s mask mandate in public spaces after a member who participated in the board’s vote was not eligible to vote.
Board of Health member Gary Rosen had not taken an oath of office prior to the board’s Feb. 7 meeting, which means he was ineligible to participate in the vote, City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.’s office announced Friday.
“Therefore the Board of Health did not achieve a majority of votes to approve rescinding its emergency regulation requiring face coverings indoors citywide,” a news release stated.
The board, including Rosen, voted Monday to rescind the executive order that took effect in September and required individuals to wear masks inside all public buildings in the city.
According to the city, Rosen was sworn in as a member on Feb. 10.
The board will meet on Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. to vote again on the measure.
The virtual meeting will include one agenda item: “Request the Board of Health to rescind city-wide mask mandate to take effect February 18, 2022.”
The decision comes as Worcester is well below the state’s vaccine rate and cases remain higher than when the mandate was implemented.
When Augustus announced the mask mandate the city’s seven-day average of cases was 78 and climbing. The city’s vaccination rate was 52%.
Last week, Augustus said the city’s seven-day average was 135, but dropping steadily. In the 20 weeks since the announcement of the mask mandate, Worcester’s vaccine rate has only climbed eight points to 60%. The state average is about 76%.
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