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Federal guidelines may soon nix indoor mask requirements — a welcome change for businesses

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Mask mandates may ease up soon.

Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president, said federal guidance on wearing face coverings indoors may be loosened up.

Fauci was asked on ABC News whether it’s time to start relaxing indoor mask requirements. He replied, “I think so, and I think you’re going to probably be seeing that as we go along, and as more people get vaccinated.”

This is welcome news for folks facing mask fatigue and for businesses that have been struggling.

The CDC relaxed its guidance in April on wearing masks outdoors but still advises both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to still wear masks in indoor public spaces.

That may change soon.

Todd Bartlett with Kizito Cookies told WAVE 3 News Monday that everyone who works at his store has been vaccinated. Bartlett said when it’s safe, he looks forward to taking down mask requirement signs and seeing their customers again.

“I’ll be able to know who I’m talking to, " Bartlett said. “We’ve had customers that we’ve had for 30 years and I don’t recognize them because they are covered up. It will be a cue to people that it’s safer to come out.”

The business at That Cute Little Shop is picking up again, but owner Jessica Taylor hopes more people will come in once they start feeling more comfortable going out..

“I think everyone is ready to get on with life,” Taylor said. “I’m ready! I’m so ready!... Everyone comes in and says, ‘I’m so ready to buy these clothes but I have nowhere that I’m going. I think when they lift the mandates everyone will feel a lot safer and ready to just get out there to go to that concert, go to the track, [and] go to dinners.”

Dr. Mark Burns, an infectious disease specialist from UofL Health, explained that although the finish line with this virus is in sight, people shouldn’t rush.

“You have to see what the community rate is,” Burns said. “Dr. Fauci is probably being enthusiastic, which I don’t blame him. This is the closest we’ve been to normal since this all began. But still, there is a distance to go. There is work to do. The race is not done.”

Burns says he would feel comfortable not wearing a mask in indoor settings when daily cases across the country are 1,000 or less.

Fauci said the U.S. probably will be back to normal by next Mother’s Day if enough people get vaccinated.

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