New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday rolled back the agency’s April guidance that allowed fully vaccinated people to go without masks indoors in public places.
The new recommendation is that all people should again wear masks indoors including people who have been vaccinated.
Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang said experts are learning that vaccinated people can still transmit the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 while showing little or no symptoms.
“Even though these vaccines are very effective at preventing that individual from getting serious illness, hospitalization and death, they can still, we are finding, more easily spread it to others,” Huang said.
At the Dallas Bishop Arts District Tuesday, a few shoppers wore masks, but most did not. Fully vaccinated people have gotten used to going without masks.
The new recommendation puts merchants like Lawrence Woodson in a tough spot.
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She knows some customers will refuse to wear masks and may also resent seeing her wear one.
“I will definitely keep one on my desk and be reading the cues from other people. And if it's being recommended by the CDC, then I think that's something I should respect,” Woodson said.
Her active wellness and fitness boutique De Novo thrived during the pandemic with products she said customers cannot find everywhere.
But she was extremely ill for two weeks, suffering from COVID-19 herself.
So Woodson said she got vaccinated as soon as a shot was available to her instead of counting on antibodies from surviving the illness to protect her from another possible infection.
“I would never want to be in that amount of pain again,” she said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has said wearing masks cannot be required, even for people who are not vaccinated. Abbott repeated his position again Tuesday but he did urge unvaccinated Texans to get the shot.
“The governor tells you what is legal and that is political and poll-driven. The CDC doesn't run for office. They're telling you what is safe,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “We want to keep frequenting our businesses and keep this economic growth going, but we’ve got to do it responsibly, so we don’t have a big COVID outbreak that hurts all of us again.”
Around half of Texas adults are unvaccinated and rising COVID-19 numbers the past month have put Texas on the list of places where the CDC again recommends masks for everyone indoors.
“I've been totally happy not wearing one. But if things are changing, I'll change my mindset, too. I think we all just have to listen to the science,” Woodson said.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson issued a statement about the new CDC guidance.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have consistently and repeatedly called on our residents to follow the advice of doctors and public health experts to help reduce the spread of this novel, mutating, and deadly virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on masking will be no exception. I encourage everyone to mask up when necessary and to get vaccinated as soon as possible if they have not done so yet,” Johnson’s statement said.
Tuesday President Joe Biden said he is considering a requirement that all federal employees get vaccinated.