DES MOINES, Iowa – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a change in their mask guidelines for vaccinated people on Thursday. They initially stated that vaccinated people could go without a mask when outdoors but shifted to say those fully vaccinated from COVID-19 could go without a mask or social distancing indoors and outdoors.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,” the CDC website states, “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
“Freedom!” U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said upon learning about the change in the indoor mask guidelines as members of Congress have been vaccinated.
U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, applauded the news.
“This is great news for Iowans and Americans. I am grateful to the scientists and health care workers who have helped us get shots in arms so we can start getting our lives back to normal and our economy back on track,” she told The Iowa Torch.
U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, called for Congress to set an example for Americans who have been vaccinated.
“I am pleased to see the CDC and Dr. Walensky following the science and allowing fully vaccinated individuals to go without masks indoors. I would encourage anyone who is not vaccinated to get a vaccine as soon as possible so we can reopen our economy, get our kids fully back in school, and return to normal. Just like I did last month, I am calling on the Speaker and House Attending Physician to rescind the requirement for fully vaccinated Members of Congress to wear masks. Congress needs to set an example of a return to normal and the benefits of getting vaccinated,” she said in a released statement.
U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, also encouraged Iowans to sign-up to be vaccinated.
“Once again, we’ve seen our nation’s top medical experts and scientists confirm that the clearest path to being able to safely participate in all that our community has to offer again is to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” she told The Iowa Torch. “Whether it’s dining at your favorite restaurant or hosting your friends and families in your own home, a vaccine makes all of that safe and can help bring a new sense of normalcy back to our communities. With more than a million Iowans already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, this new guidance should give the rest of Iowa confidence that this public health crisis can fully be behind us if they join their neighbors in getting a vaccine as soon as possible.”
U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, said it was about time.
“I’m glad the CDC has finally confirmed what we already knew. It’s time for the U.S. to reopen and get folks back to work,” he told The Iowa Torch.
In response, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office reminded that the state has taken steps to return to normal long before the CDC released the new guidelines.
“As the governor stated (on Wednesday), Iowa does not have a mask requirement or any capacity restrictions or limits,” Reynolds spokesperson Pat Garrett told The Iowa Torch in an email.
Several Iowa communities, like Des Moines, along with Regent universities, school districts, and businesses that do mandate masks and social distancing.
The Iowa Torch also reached out to U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s office but did not hear back before publication.