BOSTON (WHDH) - A new indoor mask mandate took effect in Boston on Friday morning as the stronger, more contagious Delta variant continues to fuel a surge in new COVID-19 cases in the city and across the state.

All people over the age of 2 will again be required to cover their faces indoors in retail stores, restaurants, bars, performance venues, social clubs, event spaces, municipal buildings like libraries and schools, museums, hotels, gyms, cultural and historical sites, and while using public transit, according to Mayor Kim Janey.

Masks can be removed when actively eating or drinking, and the public health order does not apply to gatherings in private residences, private buildings inaccessible to the public, places of worship, or performers who maintain 6 feet of distance from their audience.

The mask mandate does not apply to outdoor spaces. It will remain in effect until further notice.

Janey’s latest effort to mitigate the continuing community transmission of the variant comes as the city welcomes back 50,000 college students from across the country and a return to school for more than 50,000 Boston Public Schools students.

“We must do all we can to protect Boston residents with strong preventative measures,” Janey said of the mandate. “This public mask mandate will help limit transmission of the Delta variant and boost public confidence that is essential to our continued economic recovery.”

Janey has repeatedly stressed that getting the COVID-19 vaccine remains the most effective protection against the virus.

All 18,000 city workers must also get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing, Janey announced earlier this month.

State health officials on Thursday reported 1,793 new COVID-19 cases — the most in a single day since April.

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