HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The CDC announced Thursday that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors in most situations.
Midstaters like Richlene Devine are excited about that.
“To get rid of this for a while, that would be fantastic,” Devine said.
The CDC’s guidelines say it’s safe for vaccinated people to shed their masks outside altogether and inside as long as they aren’t around crowds. Director Rochelle Walensky explained that it’s a decision they based on the science around the vaccine.
“If you are fully vaccinated you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” Walensky said. “We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
The Pennsylvania Health Department says they’re changing the state’s mask mandate to follow the guidance.
Dr. Chris DeFlitch with Penn State Health says this is a reward for those who are vaccinated.
“I think the work that our community has done both giving the vaccines and being willing to receive those vaccines is starting to show it’s benefit,” DeFlitch said.
David Williams is another local that’s glad to hear about the change.
“I want it off. It’s very irritating trying to breathe through a mask,” Williams said. “Especially when you’ve got glasses on, you understand, they fog up your glasses and everything.”
Although, the change may feel unfamiliar at first.
“Because then I feel like I forgot something,” Devine said. “You know it’s like ‘oh I should have my mask on.'”
Other people like Shanna Klucar aren’t so thrilled by the announcement.
“I think it’s a little too soon to stop wearing masks. We’ve both had both our vaccines already, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still spread it to other people and I’d really hate to see our state or country go backwards,” Klucar said.
Health experts say even vaccinated people have to keep their masks on in crowded places like planes, hospitals, or public transportation.
“I’m not throwing my mask away. I’m not going to wear it all the time, but I’m not throwing it away,” DeFlitch said.
The hope is this incentivizes more people to get their shots, so everyone can breathe a little easier.
“Do what you can do to continue towards the concept of community immunity,” DeFlitch said.