The CDC issued new guidance yesterday on outdoor mask use for those who are fully vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, or dine outdoors, the science shows you can do so safely---without a mask. However, the CDC still says to avoid large gatherings.
As I have said many, many times, we in Orange County follow the science. After reviewing research from multiple sources, including the University of Central Florida, the Florida Department of Health and doctors from local hospitals, I have amended my face covering Executive Order in three phases as follows:
Phase One – Effective Immediately
- Effective Immediately. Reduce physical distance from six to three feet in all settings.
Fully vaccinated individuals should follow CDC guidelines for wearing facial coverings.
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
- Take precautions in indoor public settings like wearing a well-fitted mask
- Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
- Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people from multiple households
- Avoid indoor large-sized in-person gatherings
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Follow guidance issued by individual employers
- Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations
Fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
- Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
- Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
- Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
- Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
- Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible
Phase Two – Effective when 50 percent of the population 16 and older has received their first dose of the vaccine.
- Mask mandate for outdoors lifted for all individuals.
- Physical distancing of at least three feet between groups is encouraged.
- Masks are still required for all indoor activity (except when eating or drinking)
Phase Three – Effective when 70 percent of the population 16 and older has received their first dose of the vaccine and/or Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is 5 percent or below.
To put all of this in perspective, the 14-day rolling positivity rate yesterday was 8.0 percent. We will have to work hard to get it down to 5 percent. Also, the number of Orange County residents who have had at least one dose of the vaccine is 43 percent. We only need an additional 7 percent of our residents to get vaccinated to achieve the 50 percent for Phase Two. I believe these are sensible and achievable goals.
To book an appointment and/or find other vaccination options throughout the County, visit ocfl.net/Vaccine. As an Orange County employee, you can obtain the vaccine on County time with approval from your supervisor.
At this time, no changes have been made to the County’s policy for facial coverings and they should continue to be worn in accordance with the Guidelines for Face Coverings in the Safety and Health Manual. We are seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s not get complacent now. Thank you for all you do to help keep your coworkers and community safe.