Courtesy of the Chaparral
This week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced the relaxing of mask-wearing guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors and in many indoor settings.
President Biden championed the milestone in the United States’ effort in fighting COVID-19 and getting out of the pandemic.
“Today is a great day for America,” said the President during a Rose Garden address Wareham and staffers were maskless. President Biden presented the new guidelines and said, “If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.” He also laid out the options Americans have in front of them as, “Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do.”
The new guidelines still require mass in certain situations, such as crowded indoor settings but start the path for reopening places such as offices, schools, and other venues. The new ease restrictions even remove the need for social distancing for those who have been fully vaccinated.
Earlier the same day, the CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, stated that these changes allow Americans to get back to a sense of “normalcy.”
She stated, “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
The CDC and the Biden Administration have been announcing new guidelines since the continuous vaccination efforts have progressed. Most of them were seen as a positive step towards getting out of the pandemic. However, this specific change in guidelines has brought about a lot of confusion.
A big point of contention with the new policy change is that there is no way to identify individuals who have not been vaccinated.
With only 37% of Americans being fully vaccinated and 47% having only had their first dose, the change was met with criticism in regards to the fact that there is no real policy on having to deal with those who have not been vaccinated or fully vaccinated and choose to not wear a mask in public.
Leslie S., an Palm Desert woman, stated when asked about her opinion on the change,” I think it’s a little premature you have made us change now. there has definitely been a lot of progress towards lowering the state and county numbers, but this seems like a step backward rather than a step forward.”
Maria F., an employee at El Paseo Galleria, said,” As difficult as it already sees how a lot of our clientele refused to wear a mask even before all this. Before, the excuse was that ‘this was a free country and I’m allowed to do what I want now it’s “ the CDC said it’s okay so I don’t need to have one on.”
According to the CDC covid data tracker, Riverside County only has 31% of the population fully vaccinated, and it’s still in the yellow tier per California’s Blueprint for a safer economy.
Many Southern California counties have less than 40% of their population vaccinated. Yet, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that they would be lifting The Mask mandate by June 15th, the same date that she stated earlier last month would be when the California economy would fully open.
“I’m so tired of masking up,” said Ricardo, a hospitality worker in Palm Springs. “People are getting vaccinated, and at this point, I think there shouldn’t be a need to wear these things anymore. If we don’t move on from this now, when will we?”
Palm Springs has decided to maintain their face covering guidelines until they hear otherwise from the California Department of Public Health. As of yet, there hasn’t been any indication that California will be lifting any mask mandate before the aforementioned June 15th date.
For a full list of the changes made by the CDC, visit www.cdc.gov.