WASHINGTON - The Centers for Disease Control made waves on Thursday when they announced new guidance indicating that fully vaccinated people can discard their masks indoors – but it’s also creating confusion since it conflicts with local regulations.
The highlight of the CDC announcement may have come before the new guidelines – a report on declining COVID-19 cases, a significant drop in hospitalizations and deaths, and confirmation that vaccines are working.
While headlines may suggest you can ditch your mask if you’re fully vaccinated, that might be premature.
For now, there’s still an indoor mask requirement in D.C., Maryland and Virginia – as well as a number of other states.
And even when those jurisdictions lift those mandates, private businesses can still require to you wear a mask.
"If you’re a chain retailer I think it’s hard to expect your employees to be able to check someone’s vaccination status so you’ll likely see him as being part of the requirements for entry into a retail business for some time," said Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Adalja says that despite that, he believes this updated CDC guidance is welcome news - that it’s based in science, and that it underscores the benefits of vaccine.
This doesn’t change that some people are still more comfortable wearing a mask - even outside.
Some people who spoke with FOX 5 in Montgomery County say they’re glad this is only guidance and we won’t see any big changes just yet.
"I think hopefully by the summer we should have no masks inside, but I think the priority is for people to be safe," said Mike Nzeza.
"I would like to see more people vaccinated. Once we get there and people without masks being able to do normal things again that would be great," said Yancy Bodenstein of the Clear Skies Meadery.
An Anne Arundel County restaurant owner told FOX 5 that his customers and staff are fed up with the mask mandate, and it’s time to lift it. But he also sees problems with local regulations clashing with CDC recommendations.
He says he wants nothing to do with checking whether his customers are vaccinated.
Locally, Maryland is targeting having 70% of adults with at least one shot. The state is at 65% right now.
Both Virginia and DC say they are reviewing the guidance, and have not made a decision yet.