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Williamstown Board of Health: Face Coverings 'A Personal Decision'

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Board of Health on Monday decided to change its messaging on the use of face coverings in public indoor spaces in response to improving metrics on the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
 
The board, which never took the step of mandating face masks in town, authorized the health inspector to inform businesses that the board is no longer recommending that otherwise healthy individuals wear face coverings.
 
"Although the Board of Health has never had a masking mandate, at its March 14 meeting it stated that masking is a personal decision," Jeff Kennedy wrote in a message to local food and lodging establishments. "It is up to each establishment to have its own masking standards (if any), but should not discourage persons who want to wear a mask.
 
"The incidence of COVID is greatly diminished in Williamstown (and the Berkshires) and there is a high vaccination rate."
 
Board of Health Chair Ruth Harrison said the panel will continue to closely monitor the numbers for COVID-19 in town, but it is encouraged by the way the community has managed to keep transmission rates down.
 
"There are certain people who need to wear masks ... high risk people," Harrison said. "And there are still some health care facilities – we’d certainly back those having people wear masks."
 
And even in the general population, the board recognizes that there are people who might want to choose to take the extra precaution of wearing a face covering in public, Harrison said.
 
"It wouldn't be an individual thing going into that business," she said. "And people who choose to wear a mask shouldn’t be singled out.  … We would hope that people wouldn't be criticized for wearing a mask. They should have that right."
 
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control does recommend using a face covering indoors if you are not vaccinated or have a compromised immune system. Most communities and school district have lifted masking advisories and mandates by this week. 
 
There were 46 positive cases countywide of the novel coronavirus reported over the weekend; Williamstown reported only 15 cases and a 14-day positivity rate of 0.43 percent for the two weeks ending March 5.

Tags: COVID-19,   masks,   


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Williams Men's Tennis Advances to NCAA Quarter-Finals

Williams Sports Information
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. –  The Williams College men's tennis team Sunday defeated Bowdoin, 5-1, to advance to the quarter-finals of the NCAA Division III tournament.
 
Wins at number one and number two doubles gave the Williams (15-3) a 2-1 lead over Bowdoin (16-6) heading into singles play.
 
Williams' third point came at No. 2 singles where Matt Kandel downed Reid Staples 6-2, 6-3.
 
Karan Amin at third singles recorded Williams fourth match point when he prevailed over Evan Fortier 6-3, 6-4.
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