A day following an announcement made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention easing up its guidelines regarding mask wearing for fully-vaccinated Americans, Orange County is now following suit with its own phased approach to masks.
In the CDC's new guidelines the organization said that those who were fully vaccinated could go without wearing a mask outdoors or in scenarios involving a small group of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The CDC, however, still advised people to avoid large gatherings.
“As I have said many, many times, we in Orange County follow and continue to follow the science to guide our decision making process,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings during a news conference Wednesday, April 28. “After reviewing research from multiple sources, including the University of Central Florida, the Florida Department of Health and doctors from local hospitals, I am including that guidance in a phased approach to amend my Face Covering Executive Order. My goal is to give guidance to the community as we continue to navigate through the pandemic.”
During the press conference Demings outlined a three-step plan, which includes the following phases:
- Phase 1 – Effective Immediately. Reduce physical distance from 6 to 3 feet in all settings. Fully vaccinated individuals should follow CDC guidelines for wearing facial coverings.
- Phase 2 – Effective when 50% of the population 16 and older has received their first dose of the vaccine. Facial covering mandate for outdoors lifted for all individuals. Physical distancing of at least 3 feet between groups is encouraged. Facial coverings still required for indoors, except when eating or drinking.
- Phase 3 – Effective when 70% of the population 16 or older has received their first dose of the vaccine and/or Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is 5% or below. All mandates are lifted.