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Worcester Will Consider Lifting Indoor Mask Mandate

WORCESTER (CBS) - Hope is on the horizon for Worcester businesses that have struggled to enforce the city's mask mandate. The city has fined more than 100 places for noncompliance.

Citing continued downward trends, Worcester leaders will ask the Board of Health Monday to get rid of the city's indoor masking policy.

"If the board takes the request and the recommendation Dr. Hirsch and I are making to it - to rescind the mask mandate - that will be effective February 18," explained city manager Edward Augustus.

Following state and federal guidelines, masking would still be required in schools and on public transportation.

At Pepe's Italian Restaurant on Shrewsbury Street, the team feels grateful patrons have been so compliant and respectful.

"All of our customers have been really understanding with everything and they respect everyone's wishes. We really haven't had a problem at all. We have amazing customers who support us through everything," said Jaclyn Delmonico.

Many have gotten used to the group-minded measure, a necessary inconvenience.

"We've had COVID and it's not a great thing. I absolutely don't want it again. I think the shots are more important than the masks," a patron said.

Masks are still recommended for those who live with health issues and the unvaccinated. Any establishment that wants to enact their own mask mandate is free to do so.

"We definitely are looking forward to our new normal and welcoming more people here," Delmonico added.

City leaders will also ask the board of health to let colleges and workplaces with a 90% vaccination rate not have to wait the two weeks and drop masks immediately - if they wish.

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