The CDC updated the guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals on May 16, stating that they are allowed to resume activities they did prior to the pandemic without wearing masks or staying six feet apart, except where it’s required by law. To some, this is far overdue, others think the decision is premature. In interviews with Mustang News, four students gave their thoughts on the new guidelines.
The mask mandate remains in California until June 15. California’s health ordinance regarding masks will then align with the CDC’s guidelines.
Psychology sophomore Ariadne Kaylor said that while she sees both sides of the issue, she still thinks the new guidelines are premature.
She said she thinks the guidelines were implemented in order to incentivize people to get the vaccine.
“There’s a group of people that are gonna get vaccinated no matter what, there’s a group that won’t get vaccinated no matter what, then there’s a group that will get vaccinated if they have enough incentive to do it,” Kaylor said.
Kaylor said she still plans to wear her mask in indoor spaces, but when she’s in a private area with her friends who are also fully vaccinated or outdoors she doesn’t feel the need to.
“If it’s outdoors, I’ll typically have it around my neck and if someone else is wearing theirs I’ll pull it up to be polite,” Kaylor said. “But if the other people aren’t wearing theirs then I won’t because I am vaccinated.”
Industrial engineering sophomore Ben Haering supports the CDC’s new guidelines, as he and his family have been following the CDC’s recommendations throughout the pandemic.
“It just logically makes sense to me,” Haering said. “If you’re fully vaccinated … then you’re at like 95% or 96% effectiveness against getting COVID-19 — that’s basically as good as we’re going to get.”
Haering believes that people should be trusting the CDC and the effectiveness of the vaccine enough to not wear masks.
“I don’t think [the CDC] would come out with this if it wasn’t scientifically accurate,” Haering said. “Based on the other recommendations made in the past, it seems like they put a lot of study and thought into it.”
Haering hopes to see people focusing on returning to “normalcy” and reopening the economy.
“I don’t see why we couldn’t go into a more pre-COVID lifestyle fairly soon,” he said.
Like Kaylor, child development sophomore Loanie Phan thinks the new guidelines are premature.
“I know a lot of people really want to get back to whatever we think was a normal way of living, but I think that this pandemic is going to affect us all for a lot longer than we hoped,” Phan said.
Phan said she has no plans to stop wearing her mask in most places.
“I personally am not going to take off my mask in indoor locations and other things like that, I won’t even consider it until we reach herd immunity,” Phan said.
She said she worries about people who aren’t fully vaccinated taking advantage of the new guidelines.
“There’s already people who are faking vaccine cards, and there are going to be more people who take advantage,” Phan said.
Phan said she finds it discouraging to see the amount of people walking around without masks, specifically in Downtown San Luis Obispo.
“It’s just such a simple and easy thing that people can do to help protect others is to just wear your mask,” Phan said. “I’m not super excited about this new CDC guideline that says we can just take them off for the most part, I think it’s really going to create more issues than it solves.”
Journalism freshman Luke Garcia believes that the new guidelines are an “amazing incentive” for people to get the vaccine.
“I think with all the tests and trials performed, the vaccine is trustworthy,” he said. “Additionally, now that a substantial portion of the population of the country has gotten their doses, the new data is even more promising as we see cases at their lowest level since the beginning.”
While Garcia said he never thought of masks as a burden, he hopes the new CDC recommendations will allow for a sense of normalcy to return.