Town to align with state guidelines lifting Covid-19 restrictions
NEEDHAM – Monday, May 24, 2021 – The Town of Needham will re-open Town Buildings to the public June 1, 2021 without appointments and will follow the state’s guidelines in lifting Covid-19 restrictions, including face covering requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.
Town offices have been open to the public by appointment since June 1, 2020. All buildings, including the Needham Free Public Library, will be open to the public during regular business hours effective June 1, 2021. The Center at the Heights (CATH) has been utilized by the Needham Public Schools to provide additional spacing for administrative staff and will remain closed to the public for the time being. It is expected that the CATH will re-open to the public this summer.
The Town of Needham has among the highest vaccination rates in the state, and Governor Charlie Baker has indicated that the state is on track to meet its goal of vaccinating 4.1 million residents by the first week of June. As a result, Baker announced last week that effective May 29, 2021, all industry Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted and the current face covering order will be rescinded and replaced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance.
The Town will also lift its current face covering order for all fully vaccinated individuals. Those who have not been fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue to wear face coverings. Regardless of vaccination status, members of the public will still be required to wear face covers in the following spaces:
- Public/private transportation systems (MBTA, Uber/Lyft, etc.)
- Healthcare facilities and providers, congregate care settings and health and rehabilitative day services.
- Indoors for staff and students of K-12 schools and early education providers
Those who wish to continue wearing face coverings may do so, and businesses may individually choose to maintain Covid-19 precautions including the use of face coverings, social distancing, senior hours and more.
The Town will end the practice of sending weekly Covid-19 updates via email and text Thursday, May 27, 2021 but may send updates if new or important information becomes available. The Town’s Covid-19 website will remain active for now.
The Governor also indicated that he will lift the current state of emergency on June 15, 2021. The emergency order had allowed municipalities to conduct remote public meetings. Town leadership is exploring whether and how it can continue to offer some meetings virtually while still complying with the state’s Open Meeting Law. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.
The emergency order also allowed for outdoor dining and alcohol consumption. Town leaders are also working to find ways to continue to support local restaurants through these offerings once the order expires.