Can We Rely on Honor System When California Lifts Mask Rule Next Month?

After over a year of mask wearing, the CDC’s mask guidance allowing fully-vaccinated people to go mask-free in most settings is leaving people confused and concerned about how the rule will be enforced

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The old saying is "trust but verify," but in the case of masks for unvaccinated people when you’re shopping or out to eat come June 15, San Diego County and the state of California is just willing to trust you – and some say they’re okay with that.

After over a year-long pandemic and all the conflicts that have come along with it, trust is in short supply for many. WIth mask mandates set to soften in a couple of weeks, some are wondering if we can rely on the honor system if there are no enforcement measures in place.

Reaction to the new guidance from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was mixed. The likelihood of being in mixed company come June 15 is high, considering just over 35% of the country is fully immunized against COVID-19.

“Personally, I wouldn’t require any vaccine passports or proof of vaccine,” said Reason Fiorita, who hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet. “It’s not just either vaccines are wrong, or we need to take away freedoms for personal safety. There’s a lot of grey area in between.”

Fiorita told NBC 7 he is waiting to get the vaccine until it has been out a bit longer, but said he thinks unvaccinated people like him may be forced to lie about whether or not they’ve gotten it, if they’re denied access to certain events or locations.

“There are a lot of good people out there and they will abide by the honor system, but I also think there are people who are good at heart, but may not want to have their freedoms taken away so they might feel pressured or obligated to lie or cheat the system in a way,” he said.

Some vaccinated people like Ryan Dunn worry about relying on the honor system.

“I’m vaccinated, so at this point I’m dancing in the streets. I don’t care anymore. There are people who will go to great lengths to cheat the system in any way, shape or form, so I think the best thing you can do is just hope they don’t,” he said.

And while Dunn told NBC 7 he’s been vaccinated, he said he is still opposed to any sort of verification.

“That would even make me feel uncomfortable,” he said. “It’s private to me.”

Allison Shea is vaccinated and said everyone has the right to their own choices.

“If I know they haven’t been vaccinated I might step back a few, but it’s their choice to not have been vaccinated and it’s my choice to keep going,” she said.

There are no plans to use any widespread use of vaccine verification or “vaccine passports” in the U.S. as of now.

Despite this, some governors have already issued bans barring businesses or state agencies from asking people to show proof of vaccination, saying it infringes on personal freedoms and health choices.

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