Both vaccinated and unvaccinated San Diegans say this long track record of mixed messaging on COVID just makes fighting the pandemic even harder.
As the country grapples with a spike in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, the CDC’s latest reversal on mask guidance recommending all Americans – regardless of vaccination status – wear masks indoors again is drawing mixed reactions.
“It’s making the people who are vaccinated wonder why they've been vaccinated, and people who aren't vaccinated [feel] shamed,” owner of Curbside restaurant, Brenda Leek said.
Vaccinated San Diego resident Claudia Carter was one of the first in line to get the vaccine, but she says this new mask guidance falls on deaf ears.
“We enjoyed not wearing them for a time. And so, even when they're saying, you know you need to mask up again. Well, you know, we aren't being as careful. We’re wearied from it. It’s just an opinion,” Carter said.
But it’s an opinion one retired nurse, Pam Olsen doesn’t share.
“It's not a big deal to wear a mask,” Olsen said.
She says after over a year of mask wearing, she doesn’t mind it anymore, even after getting the shot.
“It makes me frustrated, it's such a simple thing, at least the masking, if you're not going to get the vaccine. Many people have their reasons but, you know, put the mask on,” Olsen said.
A woman who preferred to not be named was holding off on getting vaccinated because of an underlying medical condition.
“I just wear a mask just to be protected,” she said.
She’s about to start a job in the healthcare industry, meaning she'll soon be required to show proof of vaccination or undergo regular COVID testing, a condition which convinced her to get the shot.
But after cities and counties around the U.S. repealed mask mandates -- some just weeks ago -- many say this reversal just won't catch on.
“I've gotten a little bit cynical about some of what they've recommended. I'm not going to tell people that they have to wear a mask in the store,” owner of Maxwell’s House of Books, Craig Maxwell said.
Leek says the voluntary guidance – should stay that way.
“It's difficult for me because I want to be the place where people come and have a good time and not have this be a topic of conversation. And when something like this happens, I respect it. I understand it, however, I think every business and every individual location and venue has the right to be able to decide what's best for them,” Leek said.
Health officials say safeguards like more mask wearing are just a band-aid to prevent more spread – but it’s really going to take a big boost in vaccination rates to ultimately eliminate the virus.