With the recent announcement that Somerville would be joining Massachusetts on May 29th in lifting Covid restrictions, we’ve been talking about how we should proceed. After discussion with the staff, we’re going to continue requiring masks in the common areas of our building until we get a “green light” on CovidActNow.
I’d like to reiterate that floating is safe, has social distancing baked in, and our ventilation is key. Our staff are all fully vaccinated, including the new folks we just hired. Floating is one of the safer destinations outside of your own home. Having said that, it will surprise nobody that in a business that provides one of the most effective tools for managing anxiety, our customer base tends to be a smidge on the vigilant side. We’ve heard a fair amount of heightened caution around re-opening too quickly, and we are paying attention to your concerns. I want to assure you that at FLOAT we all think carefully about what providing a “safe space” looks and feels like.
You’ve seen me use graphs from CovidActNow to communicate why we’ve made the decisions we’ve made throughout the pandemic. When it comes to masks, we’ve decided to continue that guidance and look for Green on CovidActNow at least for Middlesex County, if not Massachusetts as a whole. Somerville will end business restrictions on May 29th; Massachusetts plans to lift the State of Emergency on June 15th. As Massachusetts has the lowest vaccine hesitancy rate in the country (single digits!), and all of New England has already crossed 70% with at least one shot, we may well see Green before one of those two dates.
Here’s today’s graph. As you can see, case rates per 100k have been falling steadily since we reopened in April. Massachusetts is at 6.3 per 100k, and Middlesex County is doing even better at 4.0 cases per 100k. We’re closing in on the levels we saw last summer. At CovidActNow you can also see that Massachusetts’ infection rate dropped below .9 in April and has also been decreasing steadily, meaning total cases will continue to shrink. These two indicators plus positive test rate and vaccine rates combine to give us a risk level, currently at Medium, or yellow. (Case rates go green once they fall below 1 per 100k.)
We’re almost there! So close. The faster people get vaccinated, the better.
Looking forward to unmasking times: if there’s another surge or a variant outbreak, and Massachusetts goes yellow again, we’ll start requiring masks again. You will always be welcome to wear a mask, regardless of our current policy.
I hope this explanation makes sense, and helps carry on your confidence in us.