State Rep. Sean Paulhus, D-Bath, wears a face covering during a special session of the Legislature at the State House, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine lawmakers will no longer be required to wear masks in the State House effective on Monday.

Legislative leaders voted unanimously Thursday to lift the mask requirement with an agreement that it could be reinstituted if COVID-19 infections and hospitalization rates rise in the future.

The council said its future decisions will be linked COVID-19 rates in Kennebec County, home to the state capital city.

The decision came a day after the administration of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills lifted a mask mandate for schools. The administration already lifted the mask requirement for other indoor spaces last May.

At the height of the pandemic, lawmakers and state workers were required to wear masks, committee meetings were virtual and the Legislature met at the Augusta Civic Center.

But those restrictions have been gradually loosening.

The Legislature has returned this year to the State House, and committee meetings are now a hybrid model with some people meeting in person and others appearing virtually.