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On May 13 the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention updated its guidance for fully vaccinated individuals allowing them to stop wearing masks and practice physical distancing outdoors and in most indoor settings. However, only about 36% of the total U.S. population have been fully vaccinated, and about 46% of the population have received at least one dose.
As such, out of precaution and for the protection of citizens and employees, Missouri City will continue its current guidelines and safety protocols which requires face mask, temperature checks and social distancing in all City facilities.
The City’s decision to continue the follow the safety protocols is based on the below recommendations from Dr. Joe Anzaldua, the City’s medical advisor:
“It was just 2 weeks ago, that the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks indoors in all settings, and outdoors in large crowds. The abrupt change was presumably due to recent studies that have shown all 3 currently available vaccines in the US to be very effective (significantly low risk of viral transmission as well as prevention of severe COVID-19 disease and even death), and now approved (Pfizer) for children ages 12 years and up. It also appears that the CDC may have been under some political pressure to “update” some of their guidelines with respect to mask wearing and physical distancing.
There are some notable exceptions however and these include high risk environments such as planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation, correctional facilities and homeless shelters. People must still wear masks and practice physical distancing when going to the doctor’s office, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Another notable exception is anywhere that masks are mandated by tribal, state, or local governments or in businesses or workplaces that have their own mandates. The CDC has basically left it up to local city and community governments to make decisions on wearing masks and physical distancing with respect to schools and municipal buildings.
While there are some organizations that have effectively and immediately removed mask mandates, there are still many who are taking a more calculated and cautious approach. Please note that the CDC changes apply to fully vaccinated individuals (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of a single-dose vaccine). They do not apply to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons.
The concern (questions) is how to provide assurance to the general public that the person not wearing a mask, standing right next to them is or is not vaccinated. How do we provide vaccine verification, especially since the majority of the U.S. population are still not fully vaccinated? Are we willing to trust this “honor system”? Are there any legal concerns if people are made to disclose vaccination documentation before being allowed to not wear a mask in city facilities? It just seems that allowing the removal of the mask mandate (as currently recommended by CDC) without any reasonable form of vaccine verification involves risk. Are we willing to accept that risk?
Unfortunately vaccination rates appear to be dropping, and many are choosing to skip the second dose of the two-dose vaccination series. Vaccination hesitancy remains to be a problem and a challenge. In conclusion, I think that there is still some uncertainty about the new CDC guidelines. And I anticipate that the CDC will soon be providing more clarification.
I am recommending that we stay the course with our current safety protocols. I am currently recommending that we make no changes to these protocols, especially with respect to wearing masks and physical distancing. It is my understanding that many local agencies, organizations and businesses are taking the same approach in response to the updated CDC guidelines.”
For more updates, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).