MIAMI (WSVN) - Some business owners in Miami’s Wynwood district said they will still require masks to be worn inside of their establishments, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases new guidance on masks for fully vaccinated people.
Stefano Romero, La Tiendita Taqueria’s general manager, said he does not have plans anytime soon to tell his guests they do not have to wear masks inside of his restaurant.
“I think the way we’re going right now, we’re going to take at least three or four months,” he said. “What we’re going to do right now is still ask for the masks because we don’t know who has the vaccine and who doesn’t have it, so it’s a little tricky.”
CDC officials announced Thursday they will relax their mask requirements. They said people who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks indoors or practice social distancing, except, for example, while on planes and buses.
Experts said as long as a private business is not breaking the law, owners can require patrons to put on a mask before they step foot into their business.
“Nothing prevents a business from requiring its employees and its customers from wearing face coverings,” Florida International University professor Kerri Stone said.
However, some businesses like PinkBastard ArtShop in Wynwood and Upload Fitness in Fort Lauderdale plan to follow the CDC’s guidance.
“Wynwood is the place to be. We’re a vibrant community and come on in,” PinkBastard ArtShop co-owner David Zalben said. “I’m very trusting that they’re going to wear a mask if they don’t have the vaccine, so I’m OK with it.”
“I’d say 75% of people here are vaccinated now anyway, so we relaxed the mandate because the CDC says it’s all right,” Upload Fitness General Manager Alan Reeves said. “We’re letting them go personal preference.”
Some residents in Miami Beach on Friday said they are excited for the mask changes.
“I am ready, I am all for it,” said one woman. “It’s time to get back to the norm.”
“It’s long overdue, long overdue,” said another resident.
“I’m in the restaurant industry so I’m happy to hear it because we really need to get back to normal life,” said one worker in Miami Beach.
Others said they will continue to be cautious.
“I don’t know,” said one woman wearing a mask. “You never know, right? We don’t know who is vaccinated or not vaccinated.”
“I think it’s good as long as people are actually fully vaccinated,” said another woman.
“To be safe for anybody else. I can still probably spread the virus,” said one man.
CDC officials will not get involved with the decisions business owners will have to make moving forward.
“With regard to what businesses, communities, schools, we will, of course, be updating our guidance in many of these areas very shortly,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “but importantly, I think that we really need to understand that this country is very heterogeneous. It’s not uniform.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava tweeted out Thursday night a new position on how the county plans to move forward.
“In an effort to continue our fight to return to our normal lives and in consultation with our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Paige and our panel of medical experts, I am no longer mandating, but still recommending, that people wear a mask and social distance at Miami-Dade County facilities,” Levine Cava said.
“I would encourage counties and localities to look at how much vaccine they have, how many people have been vaccinated, look at how many cases are in their area and to make those decisions with that information in mind,” Walensky said.
School officials like Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said they will need to review their mask mandates and go from there.
“We’re going to convene and have a conversation with our medical advisor, Dr. Paige, who also happens to be the mayor’s medical advisor,” Carvalho said. “In addition to that, we’re going to convene very quickly our public health and medical expert task force, who is composed of some of the most brilliant minds out of FIU and University of Miami and beyond and pose the question to them.”
City and county leaders are expected to announce changes to their mask mandates in the coming days.
“We hope to have a decision regarding the use of masks in our facilities very soon,” Carvalho said.
Broward County Public Schools have not yet announced if they will make changes to its mask mandates.
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