WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) — Connecticut will follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control when it comes to going “maskless” outdoors.
On Tuesday, the CDC said anyone who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 really only needs to wear a mask if they’re at a large event with a crowd of strangers.
CDC data showed the odds of getting the virus are very low if a person is fully vaccinated, and is out in the open air.
According to the new guidance, fully vaccinated people can remove their masks when exercising outdoors, dining outside with people from multiple households, or gathering outdoors with a small group.
Right now, Connecticut has a public mask mandate that applies to circumstances where social distancing can’t be followed.
Now that the CDC said fully vaccinated people can remove their masks outside, Connecticut will follow suit, effective immediately.
“Connecticut stands that if you’re outside and have been vaccinated, like [President] Joe Biden said, you don’t need to wear the mask. If you’re in the crowded area and aren’t quite sure who you’re standing next to, wear the mask a little longer,” Gov. Ned Lamont said on Tuesday.
The science backs that.
“If you’re outside, the chance of transmission is significantly lower. It’s significantly lower and very close to zero in many situations,” said Dr. Keith Grant, of Hartford HealthCare.
However, after a year of making sure to bring masks everywhere, it may take some getting used to having a life without it.
When it comes to taking a stroll in a popular neighborhood like West Hartford Center, everyone was still masking up on Tuesday, but that may not last too much longer.
“If it’s really crowded, we’ll still wear one, but if it’s outside, in a public place, state park, not too crowded, I’ll probably take it off,” said Nicole Truszkowski, of Bristol.
“I keep mine on in public to respect people and am glad everyone is doing their part and I appreciate that,” said Konrad Truszkowski, of Bristol.
Many said they grew to view the mask as a security blanket, and Prof. Melissa Whitson from the University of New Haven said people shouldn’t be surprised to see others keep it on.
“There’s going to be this sense of anxiety and sense of, ‘I feel vulnerable or naked, like I’m missing something,’ because we had to do it for so long and because it offered that sense of security,” Whitson said.
If people are wrestling with angst, Whitson’s advice is to trust the same science that go you to trust the mask and ease back into a maskless lifestyle.
“Find situations where it feels more comfortable and eventually it will feel more comfortable, and you’ll feel a little bit more at ease with taking that mask off. Don’t feel like ‘if I don’t want to rip it off right away, something’s wrong with me.’ That’s totally understandable in this situation,” Whitson said.
Whitson said people shouldn’t mask-shame. If someone has it on outside, you don’t know their health background, so people shouldn’t be harassed for having it on or off.
According to doctors, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a final shot.