The CDC's new mask guidance, which recommends that fully vaccinated Americans don’t have to wear masks in most settings, is causing confusion across San Diego County.
Neither the state nor county, have dropped the mask mandate. The conflicting messages have some local business owners questioning whether to enforce mask-wearing or not.
“After everything, everyone’s gone through, I just feel like, let’s make your own decision now,” said Deanne Ross, an owner of Act II, a clothing boutique in La Mesa Village. “Basically, I’m letting our customers make their own decisions. If they feel more comfortable wearing a mask, then obviously wear a mask. If you feel like you’re fully vaccinated and you don’t need to wear a mask, then we’re ok with that as well.”
Ross’s policy came as a breath of fresh air for customer Alexandra De Carmen Morel.
“I feel like I can breathe,” said Morel as she removed her mask.
Morel said she’s fully vaccinated and feels comfortable without the mask, while still maintaining her distance from others.
“I think it's nice to have that flexibility, really, especially if you have your COVID vaccine," she said.
But California and San Diego County leaders haven’t updated local mask guidance. The mask mandate is still in place across the state, for now.
As of Sunday morning, a spokesperson for San Diego County said San Diego was awaiting "further guidance from the California Department of Public Health on any change or loosening of mask requirements."
The conflicting messages between federal, state and local guidance continues to cause confusion.
“County health, they should make an announcement right away, because we don’t know what to do,” said Suzanne Laterreur, owner of Honey and Hive Salon in La Mesa. Laterreur said she’s continuing to enforce mask wearing, but hopes she doesn’t have to much longer.
“If the whole rest of the country is able to take their masks off and operate as normal, I think it should be the same across the board. That being said, we don’t want to put anyone in danger. We don’t want to risk anything,” explained Laterreur.
Some of Laterreur’s clients said they’re more comfortable with the masks on anyway.
“I’m appreciative that other people and establishments are going to enforce it to some degree, because I want my daughter to be safe, and I have elderly parents and I want them to be safe as well,” said Natalie Rosas, one of Laterreur’s clients.
Meanwhile, Cal/OSHA, the regulatory body that oversees all workplaces in California, is expected to meet on May 20 to discuss statewide guidance.