MELROSE — The Board of Health Tuesday rescinded the city’s coronavirus mask mandate in all indoor public spaces effective immediately. Schools are not included in that decision.

All three Board of Health members approved the recision. As positive cases continue to fall and other metrics show a virus currently in retreat, Melrose joined a growing list of communities in the state that are trying to return to some semblance of normalcy after two years dealing with COVID-19 and its variants.

Health Director Anthony Chui recommended to the Board of Health back on Dec. 23 that the city temporarily reinstitute the ordinance requiring masks in public places, effective Jan. 2. The mandate applied to public places like municipal buildings, retail stores, restaurants (except while seated at a table or at the bar), churches, event spaces and fitness centers as a COVID variant surged.

The state mandatory mask order in public places was lifted effective the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend last year.

Chui said Wednesday that his recommendation was based on a number of factors, such as the city being past the mid to late January surge of the COVID Omicron variant. Positivity rates are in sharp decline as well. In addition, hospitalization are down and the daily number of COVID cases continues to drop.

“The mask mandate is just one tool at our disposal,” Chui explained. “We have a good vaccination rate in the city too…. I think we’ve driven home the fact that masks work and that they should still be worn by people who are vulnerable (to exposure) or who feel safer doing so.”

Chui added that while nothing is set in stone, he did not believe a mandatory mask restriction would return to the city “in the foreseeable future.”

While the city’s schools were not included in the Board of Health decision, students may not have to wear masks in class starting in the next couple of weeks.

A statewide mandate requiring almost all K-12 students and staff to wear masks in schools will be lifted at the end of the month, the Baker administration announced Wednesday, marking a major transition nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will allow the existing requirement to lapse on Feb. 28 without another extension. In place of the statewide mandate, DESE will recommend that masks continue to feature in certain scenarios.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the Department of Early Education and Care will also update its guidance to reflect a similar change.

School districts can still choose to establish their own local requirements, and Baker said the administration will “fully support” individuals who choose to mask up once the mandate lifts.

The shift, Baker said, will bring a sense of “normalcy” back to classrooms after enormous disruptions in three different academic years.

“COVID, like many other respiratory illnesses we’re familiar with, will be with us for the foreseeable future,” Baker said, adding that the availability of vaccines, tests and treatments allows officials to manage the risks.

The State House News Service contributed to this report.