Popular Massachusetts tourist destination issues mask advisory after 132 new Covid cases

A popular Massachusetts tourist destination issued a mask advisory Monday after an outbreak of Covid-19 cases following the July 4 holiday weekend.

As of Friday, 132 Covid cases that are associated with Provincetown have been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, according to a joint release from the town’s Board of Health and the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment. It’s unclear how many who tested positive were vaccinated.

Of the cases, 89 people who tested positive are Massachusetts residents, while the rest are from other states.

The summer travel spot at the northern tip of Cape Cod has a year-round population of about 3,000.

During an emergency meeting Monday, the Provincetown Board of Health voted to advise people to wear masks inside, regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated people, including children under 12, are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors, which is in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

Venues where social distancing is not possible are also “strongly advised to enforce vaccine verification prior to admittance,” according to the board.

The board told residents that testing and vaccination are available through Outer Cape Health Services in Provincetown, and said a mobile test site would be set up at the Veterans Memorial Community Center parking lot through at least the end of the week.

The board said the numbers might change “as the situation evolves,” but if cases don’t go down within the next three weeks, it will consider declaring a public health emergency.

“You can be confident that, if we don’t see an inflection in this in the next three weeks, that I will call us back into session and we will look at declaring a public health emergency, but I want the public health officials to tell us that they think that that’s correct,” Provincetown Board of Health Chair Stephen Katsurinis said, according to NBC Boston.

“I think this is a good, solid step. And I think it’s sufficient for where we are,” he added.

But some health officials disagreed.

“I have to say, I’m a little disappointed that we haven’t taken a stronger stand on this,” said Janet Whelan, a member of the Provincetown Board of Health. “Rather than just advising, we should require masks.”