NC to keep indoor mask mandate despite CDC’s new guidance

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The CDC made an announcement Thursday that many Americans have been waiting to hear.

UPDATE: Gov. Cooper to announce changes to COVID-19 executive orders on Friday

It is easing mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

“We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

President Joe Biden called it a “great day for America.”

Following the CDC’s announcement, Gov. Roy Cooper was asked about the state’s indoor mask mandate – something he said would be dropped if two-thirds of adults get at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Cooper said at its current pace, the indoor mask mandate could remain in place into July.

“That’s the plan right now, we’re going to continue to examine the data and the science and consult with health care officials before making further decisions,” the governor said.

“I was hoping it would be a little bit later, as we made a little bit more progress,” Dr. David Wohl said.

He specializes in Infectious Disease at UNC. CBS 17 went to him for insight.

“I think it’s safer, for people who are fully vaccinated. So safe is relative and we should all appreciate that. That’s been the whole pandemic. Is it safer for me to go to the store when there’s less people there? yes. Is it perfectly safe? No,” Dr. Wohl explained.

He said he’ll keep his mask on indoors and advises those who are immunocompromised to do the same.

Dr. Wohl said this could act as an incentive.

“If you get fully vaccinated, you’re in this no mask group, join the club. You too could put down the mask,” he said.

As of Thursday, 51 percent of adults in North Carolina have at least one dose, 45.5 percent are fully vaccinated.

In late April, Cooper said he planned to lift mandatory social distancing, capacity and mass gathering restrictions by June 1.

The CDC’s new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces and schools.

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