Despite new CDC guidelines, Charlotte residents still need to wear masks, officials say

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Charlotte residents still need to wear masks in public places, county health director Gibbie Harris said Thursday, speaking just after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced vaccinated people can ditch the masks.

That’s because NC Gov. Roy Cooper’s mask mandate is still in effect, Harris said. But she said she expects to see Cooper amend the mask mandate this week or next after the news from the CDC.

The governor lifted part of that mask mandate in late April, allowing North Carolinians to go outdoors without masks.

Cooper has said he planned to lift the full mask mandate once two-thirds of North Carolinians are at least partially vaccinated.

About 40% of state residents have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot as of Wednesday, according to state Department of Health and Human Services data.

In updated recommendations released Thursday, the CDC announced fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance, unless required by state, federal or local regulations.

Harris called the updated recommendations “great news” and said it means the vaccines are very effective.

“We’re very supportive of that (recommendation) and we are pleased to see that happening,” Harris said Thursday.

Encouraging people to get vaccine ASAP

Harris noted that people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — so two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

And Harris encouraged all Mecklenburg residents to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

“if you like the idea of not having to wear a mask indoors as well as outdoors, please take full advantage of these clinics this weekend and get yourself vaccinated,” Harris said.

The county is hosting a vaccine clinic at the Movement School Eastland at 5249 Central Ave. and at the Calvary Christian Church of the Apostolic Faith at 3001 Kilbourne Drive on Saturday. The county’s vaccination partner, StarMed Healthcare, hosts several vaccination clinics on Saturdays and Sundays.

More information on the county’s vaccine clinics is available online.

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