KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated can start doing many of the things they did before the pandemic, including ditching masks and no more social distancing.
But there are some exceptions. Masks are still required on public transportation and in healthcare settings, and businesses can still require them.
Missouri never mandated a mask policy, and Kansas is now on board with the CDC.
In a statement, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said:
“Effective immediately, Kansas will adopt the CDC’s latest guidance that fully-vaccinated Kansans are no longer required to wear masks indoors or outdoors or physically distance, except in circumstances such as those required by businesses, public transportation, or health care facilities. Should fully-vaccinated Kansans feel more comfortable wearing a mask, they are welcome to continue doing so.”
While it’s welcome news for many, some are still hesitant.
“I need more freedom inside, shopping and inside restaurants,” Talal Nassar said. “At the same time, we should share the responsibility for all of our community.”
Nassar thinks the CDC’s decision is premature and would like to see more studies. He’s a clinical pharmacist and has cared for COVID-19 patients in Critical Care ICU.
“I can see the result of this pandemic. I saw all these lovely people pass away,” he said.
Outgoing Kansas City Health Director Dr. Rex Archer acknowledged the new guidance puts the burden of protection on unvaccinated people.
“There is a point where personal responsibility kicks in, and they really need to be getting vaccinated,” Archer said. “The caveat here is how far do we (vaccinated people) have personal responsibility for not spreading something to somebody else? And I guess that’s the only thing here that I have a little bit of concern with.”
For some people, skipping the vaccine is not a choice — like people who are immune-compromised, have other medical conditions or children under 12 who are not yet eligible.
“If somebody asks you to wear a mask because they can’t be fully protected, then we need to understand we can still get this disease and spread it.”
Local municipalities can still make their own mask rules. Kansas City, for example, is not changing its mask mandate immediately. The current order expires May 28.