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Keller @ Large: For Charlie Baker, There's Only One Call To Make On Mask Mandate

BOSTON (CBS) - Governor Charlie Baker says he will not reimpose a statewide mask mandate at this time, despite calls from some business owners that he should to take the burden of setting a policy and dealing with the backlash off of them.

But while you never want to have constituents upset with you, this isn't a politically risky call for Baker. The real political risk would develop if he did try to bring back mask mandates.

That would require reimposing the state of emergency, and the data says there is no emergency here in Massachusetts. We are among the top states in the country for vaccinations and among the lowest for infections and hospitalizations.

There are only four states right now with mask mandates - Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada and Oregon. And despite the outcry from some business owners, both the Retailers Association of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association have conspicuously declined to echo that call. Some retailers and restaurateurs believe they drive away customers.

Remember last winter when Baker was criticized for not leaving vaccinations up to local hospitals and boards of health? Now he's under fire - by some of the same sources in some cases - for leaving mask mandates up to the locals.

It's a tough spot for any politician and Baker may have to change course if the pandemic surges here. But for now that's not happening.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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