When the CDC released its new masking guidelines, it caught most people off guard. The announcement was unexpected.
But, it’s important to remember that the CDC gives guidance. It doesn’t make laws.
State and local governments have the final say on masking rules.
So what does that mean for Los Angeles?
We finally have an answer.
New York was speedy to jump on board with the new CDC guidance. California, however, has decided to wait.
California won’t be lifting any mask requirements at this time. That will wait until June 15th.
Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly explained the reasoning behind the wait.
“This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change, while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout this pandemic.”-Dr. Mark Ghaly
The June 15th date makes a lot of sense. That is the date California was planning to fully reopen anyways.
Los Angeles businesses must follow state and local guidelines, not CDC guidance. So local businesses won’t be making any changes for at least another month.
Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart announced they won’t require vaccinated shoppers to mask unless state or local guidelines do.
I suspect that small businesses will probably follow suit.
So Los Angeles will see the end of retail masking requirements, just not yet.
Overall, there are three reasons why I think California’s month-long delay is a good thing.
1. More time to vaccinate people
I believe that everyone who wants to get vaccinated should have the chance to get one.
That way, they can feel safer going maskless.
2. It gives businesses more time to prepare
The CDC’s recent change caught everyone off guard, including Los Angeles businesses.
This delay will give local businesses time to come up with a plan.
3. It gives people more time to make the mental change
Last month the CDC changed its guidance on masking outdoors. However, that change didn’t change people’s behavior much.
Roughly the same number of Los Angeles residents were wearing masks outdoors.
I think the reason for this is that people who wanted to ditch masks outdoors already did. Also, people who were nervous about unmasking kept masking despite the CDC’s position.
I suspect indoor masking will be the same. It isn’t easy to make the mental switch from being overly cautious to unmasking. It will take some people time to feel comfortable with it.