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You don’t HAVE to take your mask off, CDC director says

Mask off? Well, you don’t have to take it off if you don’t want to

Mikayla Melchert, left, Kinzie Hague and Taylor Brockhoff go maskless in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 14, 2021.
Mikayla Melchert, left, Kinzie Hague and Taylor Brockhoff go maskless in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 14, 2021. Federal guidelines say masks are no longer needed in most situations for Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have given the green light on taking off your mask — but that doesn’t mean you have to do it.

What did the CDC change?

The CDC said last week that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear face masks in almost all indoor or outdoor settings, as I reported for the Deseret News.

  • However, the CDC still recommends masks in large gatherings or in specific settings where masks are required, like health care locations and on public transportation.

Do you have to take your mask off?

No. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, told CNN that vaccinated Americans don’t have to take their mask off, nor does it mean they should take off their masks.

  • “Not everybody has to rip off their mask because our guidance changed,” she said. “If you are concerned, please do consult your physician before you take off your mask.”

Walensky said communities all have different case rates and scenarios when it comes to COVID-19. So, she said, people should do what makes sense in their own communities.

Emergency physician Dr. Megan Ranney told CNN she hopes states and businesses will keep mask mandates in place to keep the masks on for those who can’t get a COVID-19 vaccine yet.

  • “I would urge businesses to keep those mask mandates in place as long as possible in their businesses to protect their workers,” she told CNN. “It’s particularly an equity issue. We know that (minorities) across the United States who are most often our frontline employees with public facing jobs, are also those who have had the hardest time accessing the vaccines.”