Shopping Without A Mask Depends On Where You Live, Despite New CDC Guidelines
Speaker 1: 00:00 From celebration to confusion. The CDCs announcement on masking yesterday was met with a lot of enthusiasm until people realized it was not clear when and how it applied. CDC officials say masks are no longer necessary outside or indoors for people who were fully vaccinated, but the announcement didn't lift existing mask mandates for cities, States, or businesses. For instance, here in California, we are still under an indoor mask mandate until June 15th. And the CDC did not give any guidance on how to determine if say a supermarket customer or an airplane passenger is fully vaccinated or not. So state agencies and businesses are scrambling today to determine if and when vaccinated Californians can show their whole faces. Johnnie Mae is KPBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman, Matt. Welcome. Hey Maureen, what exactly did the CDC say about masks yesterday? Because there seems to be something about local rules still apply that most headlines missed. Speaker 2: 01:05 Exactly. And so, you know, the CDC, obviously they're, they're at the federal level and they basically came out and said, you know, after, you know, low transmission rates, um, you know, masks are no longer necessary outside or endorse for those who are fully vaccinated. So we're not talking about people who are unvaccinated, those who are vaccinated. Uh, but keep in mind, like you said, this is guidance from the CDC. You know, obviously they, they, they can set mandates, but now this goes to the States and the localities. So that's, you know, the state public health department and then the County public health department have to decide, Hey, does this fit for our region? Speaker 1: 01:34 Do we know the reasons why the CDC made that announcement? Speaker 2: 01:38 You know, part of it is an effort to get more people vaccinated. You know, we talked to some local health officials, uh, a couple of weeks ago who are saying, you know, some of these moves like the one we saw on May 3rd, uh, basically saying that people can go outdoors, um, who are fully vaccinated without a mask is to incentivize some of these vaccinations. You know, um, you might be seeing some of your friends, you know, going out and doing things, but you're not because maybe you don't have that vaccination card that's required in some places. Um, also we are learning a lot about vaccine effectiveness. We hear a lot about these variants that are out there. Um, you know, the Brazilian variant, the California variant, the New York variant. Um, but we know that the vaccines are working in stopping these variants. Speaker 1: 02:12 Now taking off masks applies only to the fully vaccinated. Can you remind us what that means? Speaker 2: 02:19 Right. So when we say fully vaccinated, that means either two shots of the Medina or Pfizer vaccine or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Um, so you know, there is a lag time between some of those about a few weeks, but that's fully vaccinated, not partially vaccinated, but fully vaccinated. Speaker 1: 02:33 This CDC announcement, doesn't quite jive with the announcement made about masks by governor Newsome this week. He said the state's target day to ease the mask mandates for vaccinated. People is June 15th. So is there any move now to bring that in line with what the CDC says? Speaker 2: 02:51 So the latest update that we have from the state health department is that they are reviewing that CDC guidance. They put out an update late last night, you know, after PM, um, saying that they are reviewing it, which is interesting because the last time that we saw the CDC put out some of this guidance around May 3rd, in terms of, you know, people going outdoors and not wearing masks who are vaccinated, the state health department and the County health department moved very quickly to align themselves with that guidance. Now we know obviously wearing masks help stop the spread of COVID 19. So I imagine state officials right now are trying to look at, you know, how many people are vaccinated here in California, does this work right for our States? And until that happens, we won't see any movement from the County health department, you know, historically throughout this whole entire pandemic, they ever lied not only on the CDC, but the state health department in terms of, you know, making the moves where they go, obviously, Maureen, you kind of hinted at it. Um, they do have the ability to be more restrictive locally. Uh, whether that be on a state level or on a County level, should they choose Speaker 1: 03:44 Now? What about private businesses in San Diego? Do we know how they're reacting to this confusion about masks? Speaker 2: 03:50 We hear about this confusion about masks, but if you look at the County public health order and it directs you right to the state website that has the latest guidance for masks, and it clearly says, and I'm quoting here, indoor settings outside of one's home, including public transportation, face coverings, continue to be required and requires in bold, regardless of vaccination status. Um, except for some areas outlined below. But I mean, basically what they're saying there is, you know, if you're going out in public, if you're riding the trolley for going to the grocery store right now, you have to keep that face covering on whether you're vaccinated or unvaccinated. Speaker 1: 04:20 Okay. So looking down the line have any businesses or public agencies said that they're making plans to check, to see if people have been vaccinated before they allow them to go mask lists. Speaker 2: 04:30 You know, Maureen, I'm not able to say for sure, but I know that a lot of businesses are seeing this announcement that came out yesterday from the CDC and they're reviewing a lot of their own internal policies. Um, for example, a lot of grocery stores are sort of looking at this now and saying, okay, where do we go here? Um, obviously, you know, depending on what state they're in like California, they sort of have to wait for the state health department to make, uh, their ruling on this to see which way they go. But I imagine a lot of eyeballs are on that state health department wondering where we're going to go here from now. Speaker 1: 04:54 Now if unvaccinated people decide to sort of slip in under the wire and go mask lists, could that still pose a health threat to the community? Speaker 2: 05:04 Definitely. I mean, we are not at herd immunity. We still have a long way to go to get a herd immunity. You know, vaccinations are starting to taper off, not, not, not just nationwide, but also here in San Diego County. So there's still a large hurdle to climb. And if we don't get to that herd immunity, you know, if they're still in vaccinated, people going around, uh, maybe they're maybe they're asymptomatic because they're young. They may not have any bad effects of the virus. Um, but they could still spread on a more contagious, deadly or variant of the virus. So it's, it's a big health risk to the community. And that's why public health officials, you know, we didn't see the state move right away, um, to adopt this mask mandate because we know that they have said that masks help slow the spread. And we know that the governor has said that, uh, he would like to see that mask mandate stick around, uh, to when all the restrictions are lifted, come summer around that June 15th. Um, but it's sort of remains to be seen where we go here. Speaker 1: 05:51 Okay. And I know you'll keep reporting for us, Matt. I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman. Thank you so much. Speaker 3: 05:58 Thanks Maureen. Follow me. Speaker 1: 05:59 This interview, San Diego County released a statement saying San Diego County awaits further guidance from the California department of public health on any change or loosening of mask requirements.