With Coronavirus still making big numbers and a vaccine rollout, it can be hard to understand what’s what these days. While we continue to offer vaccines to those 16 and up statewide, we also continue to “open the spigot,” as Governor Phil Scott refers to it. Recently there has been a change to the mask requirements suggested by the CDC and being used in Vermont. It’s a pick-two if you will. While indoors of public places and outside in crowded places, etc. we are still required to wear face coverings, though there is some new wiggle room with the new pick two!
The pick two offers a chance to go mask-free if you are comfortable. The three options are all about outdoor gatherings. If you are hoping to lower your mask with greater confidence, they are suggesting that you need two of these three:
Be outside – Be socially distanced – Be masked
If you are outside and distanced, that’s two, you can go without a mask. If you are outside and in a group, that’s not two, so you need a mask. And if you are inside and not able to distance, you still don’t have two, so you need a mask. If you are in a public building, business or living facility, you need a mask. Outside at a track meet with lots of space, let some air hit your face! It’s simple and yet it’s not. If you aren’t sure, we suggest you won’t regret keeping your mask up in places around other people.
Vermont Department of Health website shares, “Businesses and other entities may also post signage explaining their mask requirements and can deny entry or service to people who are not wearing a mask, including people who are not required to wear a mask. However, the business must provide another way for people who are unable to wear a mask to access the business (for example, offering curbside pick-up or delivery or other creative solution).”
What happens with fully vaccinated people vs unvaccinated? According to the Vermont Department of Health Website:
“For indoor gatherings: There can be one unvaccinated person per 100 square feet up to 150 unvaccinated people (whichever is less), plus any number of fully vaccinated people. 100 square feet is about the area covered by a big sports utility vehicle (SUV).
If only fully vaccinated people are at the gathering, no one needs to wear a mask or stay 6 feet apart.
If anyone at the gathering is unvaccinated, at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or lives with someone who is at increased risk, then everyone needs to wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart.
For outdoor gatherings: There can be 300 unvaccinated people, plus any number of fully vaccinated people.
When you’re outdoors, masks are only required when you’re in a crowd or with multiple other households where you can’t maintain a 6-foot distance. Follow this guidance whether you are vaccinated or not.
Have an open and honest conversation with people you wish to gather with about what you are doing to stay healthy day-to-day, such as wearing a mask, staying physically distant and avoiding crowds when out of the house. Share your reasons for why it’s important to you.”
What is fully vaccinated? We’re glad you asked! With a few options for vaccines, this can be confusing! But according to the CDC (www.cdc.gov) to be considered “fully vaccinated,” you must be:
- 2 weeks after the second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
They do say, “if you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.”
If you aren’t vaccinated yet or weren’t sure what the perks to being vaccinated might be, these are just examples of the opportunities coming our way. If you are interested in getting your vaccine, go for it! Check out https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine for all the opportunities! There seem to be more and more vaccine clinics added daily in a variety of places! As of this Tuesday cases in those aged 40+ had dropped 22%, while cases in those under 40 were up 23%, which is likely due to vaccinations.
As you contemplate how to gather safely, we hope you will make choices that slow the spread. Vaccinations are a fantastic way to protect yourself and others but also keep in mind these options: will you be outside? Can you be distant? Should you keep your mask on? It’s true! Making sure you can pick two is the right thing to do!
Director of The Wellness Center