Tufts Medicine will shift from a mandatory to optional masking policy at all facilities across our health system effective Friday, May 12. This decision is aligned with our statewide clinical community and guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Tufts Medicine has made changes to our policies and practices firmly based on science and the recommendations of our infectious disease experts. The safety and wellbeing of our patients, visitors and our staff remain our top priority.

Tufts Medicine will respect the decision of individuals who will feel more comfortable wearing a mask.

Data show that “one-way masking” is an effective way to help avoid contracting COVID-19. We also recognize that vaccines and natural immunity have lessened the severity of COVID-19 for many, and that transmission events within healthcare settings have been rare.

Tufts Medicine has demonstrated an exceptional level of care, compassion and respect throughout the pandemic, and we know that will continue as we move forward.

Please review the Frequently Asked Questions below to learn more.

Thank you for entrusting us with your care.

  1. Patients with respiratory symptoms should wear a hospital-issued mask while in waiting rooms and hallways.
  2. Patients and visitors who have had a known close contact exposure to COVID-19 within the previous 10 days should wear a mask.

Vaccines, immunity from infection, and highly effective therapies have made COVID-19 similar to other respiratory viruses, for which universal masking has never been mandated. At Tufts Medicine, all staff, patients, and visitors are welcome to wear a mask or N95 if they prefer to do so.

Tufts Medicine is now a mask-optional environment. Those who do not have symptoms of a respiratory illness but choose to wear a mask are welcome to do so.

“One-way masking” (wearing a high-quality, well-fitted mask) is protective, so patients should feel safe wearing a mask even if healthcare workers do not.

In the past, we required that visitors either change into our facility’s masks or place ours over their own. Now that we no longer require masks, patients and visitors may freely wear their own N95s or masks. Patients who have respiratory illness symptoms must wear a hospital-issued mask if tolerated when in a waiting room or hallway, and if they wish to wear their own, must place our hospital-issued mask over theirs so we can be sure their source control protection meets a minimum standard. Visitors to patients with communicable diseases must wear hospital-issued personal protective equipment according to posted precautions signage.

It is entirely possible that mask mandates could come back in one of the following ways: (1) a return to a statewide healthcare mask mandate in response to COVID-19 or other respiratory virus infection data; (2) a regional or local mask mandate in response to a rise in cases locally; (3) a unit-level mask mandate imposed by our Infection Prevention team in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 or another respiratory illness.