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Are we done with masks yet? Yes, if you’re fully vaccinated

Are we done with masks yet? Yes, if you’re fully vaccinated

Is a mask-free world still on the horizon? Get your COVID-19 vaccine

Look at you! You became one in that number by getting your COVID-19 vaccine. Now sweet freedom awaits, right? No more masks or distancing at the gym, at church, at the movies …

Well, not everywhere just yet. On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted restrictions on fully vaccinated people in most public and private settings. Exceptions are healthcare settings and wherever required by individual business and workplace rules, or local, state, territorial, tribal or federal regulations.

When can I get rid of this mask for good?

Step one, get vaccinated. Step two, continue to wear a mask for two weeks after your final shot. Step three, keep the mask ready for certain situations.

While some folks may think masks are ineffective, it’s not true. That’s right, masks continue to help slow the spread of the virus.

Because COVID-19 is new, there’s still a lot to learn about it. And while scientists are working around the clock to get a better grasp on it, they still have questions.

Some of the questions they’re asking include:

  • How long does immunity last?
  • Can vaccinated people spread the virus?
  • Are the vaccines effective against the new COVID-19 variants?

Until there are answers to these questions, plan on wearing a mask at times. Yeah, they can be uncomfortable, but that’s OK. Wearing it may help a neighbor. It may save a life or improve a life. If a little discomfort can do that, it’s worth it. Because that’s what we do here in NOLA. We love each other and look out for one another.

RELATED: 3 easy (and free) ways to make your own mask

Current mask-wearing guidelines

Until you are fully vaccinated, here’s what you should know about wearing them:

  • Choose wisely. Those clear, plastic face shields may be more comfortable, but it’s not clear if they work, so go with a mask made of two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric instead. Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face, doesn’t have gaps and totally covers your nose and mouth. Also, choose a mask with a wire over the nose, so you can snug it up. If you opt for a gaiter, double it up so it’s two layers thick.
  • Keep it nearby. Planning to be around unvaccinated people? You’re going to need a mask. Currently, masks are required on public transportation. That includes planes, trains and buses. You’ll also need a mask at the airport or train or bus station. To protect yourself and others, mask up any time you’re around unvaccinated people you don’t live with. This is especially true if you’re hanging out indoors. Outside, you should be OK without a mask as long as it’s not packed out like a Mardi Gras parade.
  • Wash them regularly. Reusable masks can be cute, convenient and cost-effective. But if you want yours to protect against coronavirus, you need to keep it clean. That means washing it regularly and drying it on high heat. Oh, and you should also wash your hands after removing your mask.

Ready to be in that number? Schedule your COVID-19 vaccine today!