How the CDC’s new mask guidance will affect Michigan communities

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 9:41 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The CDC is telling the nation that it’s OK to go maskless for those who are vaccinated. However, local health experts are saying not to get too excited just yet. Now, people are wondering: How this is going to affect our local communities?

Kelli Parker is a resident of Lansing.

“I thought part of the pushing the vaccine is to get us back to normal,” Parker said. “To me, normal is not having to wear a mask everywhere you go.”

Local musician Charles McGeehan noted that, regardless of the CDC’s guidance, local health departments will ultimately decide when mask mandates are lifted.

“I think it has a great deal to do with the number of people who have successfully gotten vaccinated,” McGeehan said. “We’ll have to wait and see what the local health departments and politicians say about relaxing the guidelines.”

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail noted that Michigan is worse off than, and therefore a bit behind, the rest of the country.

Vail said, “For right now here in Michigan it probably means we’re still waiting just a little bit. We had a surge in cases that aren’t factored in with the CDC decisions for a nationwide change.”

Once the local health departments decide to follow suit with the CDC guidelines, it’s local businesses who are wondering how to tell whether somebody has been vaccinated or not?

Jennifer Rook is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Michigan Retailers Association.

“Who’s to say who’s vaccinated and who’s not?” Rook asked. “That’s extremely hard to police. Nobody wants to have any confrontations with their customers in the store. That’s just not the way most retailers operate here in Michigan.”

While the Michigan Retailers Association is asking public officials to get rid of the mask mandates altogether to avoid confusion, Linh Lee, owner of Capital City BBQ, says she plans on continuing to require masks for her customers until she and her staff feel more comfortable.

“The customers who just got in will wear the mask,” Lee said. “My employees will continue to wear the mask indoor and outdoor when they serve the customer.”

Linda vail says a relaxed mask mandate for the state is on the horizon. But, she warns that we’re not there yet.

“We’re getting there,” Vail said. “I mean, the time is coming. Things are coming down nicely here right now. But, I do think we have to acknowledge that Michigan had a significant surge that we didn’t see across the nation and we’re probably going to be lagging a little bit behind.”

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