Mask Mandate: The Update

Mask+Mandate%3A+The+Update

Madilyn McClure, Opinion Editor

For over a year now, we have been masked in our community. Friends’ and peers’ faces hidden by a piece of cloth intended to protect our immune systems from the novel COVID-19. But as vaccination rates are increasing and herd immunity is becoming an achievable goal, officials are reconsidering the need for facial protection.

On the afternoon of May 13th, 2021, the CDC released a new mask guideline for fully vaccinated Americans. According to cdc.gov, their new guideline states, “If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,”. President Joe Biden was quick to publicize through a series of Instagram reels announcing the new news to vaccinated Americans. He also encouraged non-vaccinated Americans to quickly get the vaccine, as it is available now more than ever.

Individual communities throughout America with their own mask mandates have their own considering to do following this news. Springfield Health Department has announced the need to revisit their own ordinance, and Mayor Ken McClure has set a meeting for Monday, May 17th to vote on the topic. This meeting will determine how Green County will move forward into the summer months.

In Missouri, 1.94 million people are vaccinated, equalling about 31.6% of the population. In Green County specifically, 21% of residents are vaccinated. These percentages will be heavily influential in the decision to be made on the 27th.

Katie Towns, interim director for Springfield Health Department, has suggested that Greene County end their mask mandate on Thursday, May 27th, 2021. This is also the day that Springfield Public Schools ends their 2020-21 school year. She recommends that non-vaccinated people still be required to wear their masks in public.

If the mask revocation still makes anyone vaccinated uncomfortable, it is important to emphasize the fact that regardless of the decision, the choice to continue to wear a mask is still up to an individual’s own reservations and health concerns.