By Bill Shields

NEWTON (CBS) – Wearing face coverings or masks has become part of the new normal. And the science proves they have helped, dramatically, to slow the spread of COVID-19.

But here it is the Fourth of July weekend and backyard gatherings and beach parties are the norm. Are the masks still necesssry if we’re outside with others? Doctors say absolutely.

“Wearing a mask outside is really important,” said Dr. John Snider of Newton Wellesley Hospital. “It has to do with source control.”

Along with hand-washing and social distancing, masks create an effective barrier against the spread of the virus, even outside.

“We’re not going back to how we operated in January,” says Dr. Shira Doron of Tufts Medical Center. “We’re in the new normal, and masks are a proven intervention.”

Bill Shields