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Vermonters react to CDC’s lifted indoor mask mandate

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 11:46 PM EDT|Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 6:32 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The CDC Thursday announced that fully vaccinated Americans don’t have to wear a face-covering when they’re outdoors or indoors. But are Vermonters ready to ditch their masks? We asked people who were out on Church Street Thursday night for their opinion.

The majority of people who agreed to talk on camera said they don’t feel comfortable completely getting rid of their masks even though they’re fully vaccinated. They either said they’re so used to wearing a face-covering at this point and they’d feel uncomfortable without it, or they’re waiting for more people to get the shot.

For others, the updated guidance is welcome news. “I mean, if we’re all vaccinated, I think why not? What’s the trouble? We can do that,” said Lauren Henderson of Burlington. “I feel totally comfortable being inside without a mask on.”

Those who aren’t too warmed up to the idea just yet say whether they go maskless in public depends on the situation. “If it’s a group of people we knew, I’d be totally fine but in a grocery store, no,” said Kristin Whitney, a University of Vermont student.

“It’s a matter of comfort. I think it’s going to take a little while for people to feel more comfortable with that,” said Shelby Cushing of Burlington.

“We don’t know who’s vaccinated, who’s not vaccinated. We also still don’t really know or understand the virus 100% yet, so I think we probably want to get more information,” said Anna Marchesi, a UVM student.

Even some people who are fully vaccinated say they plan to keep wearing a face-covering inside to protect the unvaccinated and the vulnerable. “I think especially if you have family that’s not vaccinated -- older people, susceptible people -- I would be careful about that,” said James Harvey of Burlington.

“There are still people out there that are hesitant to get the vaccine -- which kind of scares me -- but I think once more people start getting it, I’ll feel a little more comfortable,” said Morgan Blaine of Williston.

Others say they’re waiting for the vaccination rate to rise before they go anywhere without a mask. ”I think maybe when there are more people vaccinated or when it’s been a couple of years and we’ve sort of been in the cycle,” said Jennifer Brandt of Brooklyn, New York. “I think, honestly, time is going to make me feel better about it. I think right now, it’s honestly too soon to take the masks off.”

Reacting on Twitter, Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, wrote: “Vaccines work. The new masking guidance from the CDC is incredibly encouraging. We are reviewing it and Vermont will follow suit. We will discuss our updates at tomorrow’s 11:00 a.m. COVID-19 response media briefing.”

You can watch the governor’s pandemic news briefing Friday at 11 a.m. on Channel 3 or on www.wcax.com.

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