Memphis to no longer enforce mask ordinance as CDC eases restrictions
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Health officials say we are one step closer to pre-pandemic life after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that fully vaccinated people can now ditch the masks in most instances.
The CDC announced that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to socially distance or wear masks outdoors and indoors in most cases.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
During a White House press briefing, Walensky said the new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters.
The City of Memphis also announced Thursday it would no longer be enforcing its mask ordinance.
This comes as Governor Bill Lee recently ended his declaration of a statewide public health emergency, and the Shelby County Health Department loosened its own mask mandate in a new health directive.
“It’s really about the fact that 35 percent of people have received a vaccine and an equal number of people have some level of immunity through disease. So, we’re really at the point where about 30 percent of the community is still susceptible to the disease,” said Doug McGowen, City of Memphis CEO.
The city’s new mask guidelines go into effect May 15, the same day as the Shelby County Health Directive 21, which allows people to forego masks if they have a disability or can’t safely wear a mask, if they’re younger than two years old or if a mask creates a risk to workplace safety or health.
“We’re at a point where we can move from requirement to recommendation. We can move from must to should, but I want you to be very clear the pandemic still exists,” said Dr. Bruce Rudolph with the Shelby County Health Department.
The city says it will still require masks in all its public buildings.
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