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Will the CDC lift indoor COVID-19 mask mandates?

Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the CDC may want to consider changing the indoor mask mandate

Josh Edgar, an employee at the Stockist store in Salt Lake City, talks with store owner Helen Wade and another employee, Jack Carrasco, on Sunday, April 11, 2021.
Josh Edgar, an employee at The Stockist in Salt Lake City, talks with store owner Helen Wade and another employee, Jack Carrasco, on Sunday, April 11, 2021, after they closed for the remainder of the day after a person threatened to come back with a gun when asked to leave for not wearing a mask.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former chief of the Food and Drug Administration, said this week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may want to consider lifting indoor mask mandates due to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

  • “I think we should start lifting these restrictions as aggressively as we put them in,” Gottlieb told CNBC. “We need to preserve the credibility of public health officials to perhaps reimplement some of these provisions as we get into next winter, if we do start seeing outbreaks again.”
  • “Even if vaccination rates are slowing, we’re still going to continue to chip away at getting more people vaccinated,” Gottlieb said. “But I think that these gains are locked in, and the summer looks very good.”

Gottlieb told CNBC more people will trust the system and the science if there’s a sign that things will get better once they’re vaccinated.

  • “The only way to earn public credibility is to demonstrate that you’re willing to relax these provisions as the situation improves,” he said.

The CDC announced at the end of April that people who are fully vaccinated — meaning they got two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine — don’t need to wear masks outside when walking, jogging or hiking, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • People can also spend time at outdoor restaurants without masks, too.

But, crowded outdoor settings can still pose a threat to people, according to The Washington Post. So people are still advised to wear masks at outdoor sporting events, parades, barbershops and movie theaters, among other locations, according to Axios.