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Mask Or No Mask? That Depends Where You Live

Many state and city officials welcomed news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursdaythat fully vaccinated people in the U.S. can forego masks and social distancing.

But some still stopped short of immediately implementing the changes.

The CDC said vaccinated people must follow existing state, local, or tribal laws and regulations on masks and social distancing, as well as policies at businesses and workplaces.

As of Friday morning, the rules looked very different from one state, city, or county to the next.

Ditching the mask

Many Republican-led states, including South Carolina, Alabama, and Texas, already lifted mask mandates to some degree. Once the CDC made its announcement, many Democrat-led states, including Kentucky, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Illinois, began making changes.

Officials in Connecticut, Colorado, and Vermont announced that, while they weren't immediately implementing the CDC's new standards, they would do so in the coming days.

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont announced the state will adopt the CDC's mask rules May 19, when much of the rest of the Nutmeg State's coronavirus restrictions are set to lift.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott called the new CDC guidance "incredibly encouraging."

While the state reviewed the CDC recommendations' implications Thursday, Scott said "Vermont will follow suit." Updates on the state's mask mandate is set to be shared publicly on Friday at 11 a.m ET.

Nevada's health department reminded residents that health risks from COVID-19 still persist.

"COVID-19 is still very much a threat in our State and many Nevadans may choose to continue using masks based on their and their families' personal health concerns," Nevada Health Response said. "Others should respect this choice."

The state is still allowing private businesses to have their own, more restrictive mask policies. Each of Nevada's counties also still have the authority to establish their own social distancing standards.

More cautious approach

Mask mandates remain in place in states such as California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey as state leaders confer with public health experts on next steps.

At the city level, mayors of Washington, D.C. and New York City said they are also reviewing the new guidelines before making any decisions.

San Francisco Department of Public Health shared that it's waiting on the rest of California to decide on updated mask-wearing guidelines before altering local rules.

The department tweeted, "As we recently did with the new guidance on outdoor masking for fully vaccinated people, we must wait for the state to adopt the updated guidelines before making changes to the local health order that we consider safe."

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