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May 15, 2021

To mask or not to mask: San Antonio reacts to new CDC guidance, San Antonio Report, Shari Biediger

Just over a year since federal health officials recommended face mask-wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its advice for those who are fully vaccinated.

The CDC first recommended the use of face masks on April 3, 2020, to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in public spaces. Though the measure became somewhat politicized in the U.S., mask-wearing has been widely adopted as research proved its effectiveness.

The advent of vaccines in late December, which have been shown to be 86% to 97% effective, has led to a downward trajectory in positive cases. Some states already have ended statewide mask mandates, including Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the mandate on March 10.

On Thursday, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated individuals can resume activities both indoors and outdoors without wearing a mask or physically distancing from others, except where other state and local rules mandate masks, including business and workplace policies.

But Nan Palmero, marketing director at Office Furniture Liquidations, said it would no longer require employees and customers to use masks in the store. Those who prefer to wear a mask “will be welcome to do so,” Palmero said, and whenever its vaccinated workers make deliveries, they will follow the wishes of the customer.