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CDC mask guidance incites different reactions from public health officials, business owners

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 11:54 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Since early July 2020, masks covering faces across Kentucky have been a normal sight.

As more people continue to get the vaccine, with those 12 and older now eligible, the CDC announced Thursday those who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

There are a few exceptions, including hospitals and public transportation.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the Commonwealth will be following that guidance.

Lousiville Metro Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. Sarah Moyer was in the WAVE 3 News studios when the CDC made their announcement, immediately saying she was excited by the change in guidance.

“[It was] unexpected that it came randomly today,” Moye said. “I know the evidence shows that it is safe and effective and it’s just great to see that they’ve seen that reproduced here in the United States. And know that the vaccine works against the variants that are popping up right now in order to make that recommendation.”

She said it’s just another step to returning “back to normal.”

“Just another I guess pin in the map that shows how great and how far we’ve come and how great our vaccines are,” Moyer said. “These are some of the best vaccines we’ve ever made in medical history and so it’s just great that we have it in just under a year that it’s, it’s exciting.”

As customers walked into Pints and Union in New Albany on Thursday evening, masks were still a must.

Owner Joe Phillips said like everyone else, he would like to see this pandemic end, but he’s not sure how to feel about the CDC’s decision.

“Nobody enjoys this [pandemic]; this isn’t cosplay,” he said. “We’re not a bunch of costume-wearing — this isn’t fun, it’s not Halloween. Its people have died and lives have been forever changed and businesses have closed. And I think it’s kind of shocking that out of left field they’re like, ‘Guess what? Poof.’ You know? Free for all.”

Phillips said he was surprised to hear about the CDC’s new guidance, especially that it was effective immediately. He said he wishes he would have been given a heads up to have some time to create a plan and talk to his staff. He also told WAVE 3 News he’s concerned with how to enforce it and what things will look like this summer.

“I think anybody who can read the wind can see there’s still more work to be done,” he said.

He hasn’t made a decision about how Pints and Union will move forward regarding mask-wearing. Phillips said he is going to meet with his staff soon to see how they feel.

“We’ll let it be known that if you do want to wear a mask, that’s not a bad thing,” he said. “Nobody is going to shame you.”

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