HOUSTON — It’s a big change for people who are fully vaccinated.
The CDC says anything from going to the movie to a workout class is completely safe. You don’t have to wear a mask.
“This is a sign that life is slowly returning to normal," said Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Hotez said while it’s good news, it’s a little earlier than he would’ve liked, especially in Texas where vaccination rates are lower than other states.
“I still think it’s possible that the numbers are going to go up in the summer in the South, just like they did last year," Dr. Hotez said.
But what does this really mean?
“I believe the CDC guidance is basically saying if you own you own a business you still have that ability to insist that people still wear a mask," Dr. Hotez said.
The CDC says your work office should be safe, but your company may set their own rules.
And what will happen when you, say, walk into a restaurant? Well, it’s up to the restaurant.
Places like the Breakfast Klub and City Cellars HTX say they’re now leaving the decision up to the customer. But over at Ninfa’s, they’re keeping the rules the way they are for now.
“The news just came out today, so we don’t have an official stand on it yet," said Ana Fernandez, Health and Safety Expert for Legacy Restaurants. “We’re going to motivate people to wear masks. I think that way our customers feel more comfortable and they feel safe.”
And what about schools?
Dr. Hotez said if everyone gets the vaccine, they should be safe by the fall.
“The middle schools, high schools will be very safe. And the hope is if enough people get vaccinated, then the transmission’s going to be way down, so the elementary schools will be safe as well," Dr. Hotez said.
And what about bringing your kids into spaces where people are no longer wearing masks?
“You might not want to, because there’s still a lot of transmission going on. And that may be another consideration so I think that’s where we need a little more guidance from the CDC," Dr. Hotez said. “Each parent is going to have to make their assessment of the level of risk they’re willing to tolerate.”
But with many people vaccinated and many not, asking someone to prove they’re vaccinated could be impossible.
“If you make it by the individual, there’s no way to control that. So what am I going to ask people, ‘Are you vaccinated? Are you not vaccinated?” There’s no way for us to control it," Fernandez said.
“No one could make a fake vaccination card, could they? Of course they can. This is like a gift to the people who make fake IDs," Dr. Hotez said.
And if you are not vaccinated, the CDC says it’s still very important to continue doing practicing those precautions as there’s still a risk that you could contract coronavirus.