CDC Director: ‘We’re Not Counting on Vaccine Mandates’ After Loosening Mask Guidance


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks indoors or outdoors. However, that has raised some questions around how to enforce mask wearing for non-vaccinated individuals.

NBC’s Chuck Todd asked CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Sunday, “What is a business is supposed to do when someone walks in without a mask? Assume that they’re abiding by the rules?”

“We are asking people to be honest with themselves. If they’re vaccinated, and they are not wearing a mask, they are safe,” Walenksy responded. “If they are not vaccinated, and they are not wearing a mask, they are not safe.”

She continued, “And what we’re asking businesses to do, probably the most important thing that businesses could do right now, is to work to ensure that it’s easy for their own employees to get vaccinated and to give them the time they need so they can make those appointments and get themselves vaccinated, so people in those businesses are safe.”

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Todd asked if the CDC is expecting businesses to implement vaccine mandates.

“We’re not counting on vaccine mandates at all. It may very well be that local businesses, local jurisdictions will work toward vaccine mandates. That is going to be locally driven and not federally driven,” she said.

On Thursday, the CDC announced its new guidance around mask-wearing that said fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors.

In a video announcing the new guidance, Walensky said, “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

“This is an exciting and powerful moment, it could only happen because of the work of so many who made sure we have the rapid administration of three safe and effective vaccines,” she added.

In the wake of the announcement, several retail stores said they were lifting mask mandates.

The CDC considers someone fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or one dose of a one-dose vaccine.

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