PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Masks on or off?
Gov. Ron DeSantis is posing the argument by asking if vaccines are effective, why would you be wearing two masks? Last week, the governor criticized what he called mixed messaging from the federal government and public health officials.
Several local counties have lifted mask mandates including Martin and St. Lucie counties, while Palm Beach County just extended its mandate for another month.
So the questions many are posing to local government is when will the masks come off?
The debate is passionate on both sides of the argument. Now that vaccines are available for anyone who wants one, why are masks still required in some counties?
"Well it's contradictory. What’s the message? Either the vaccine works or it doesn’t work," said Amy Wendt of Palm Beach Gardens.
Wendt said mask policies have been inconsistent across businesses and counties.
"For example, where I live at, my gym, we have a rule that says you don't have to wear your mask if you’re standing on a piece of cardio equipment. But if you’re standing in another part of the gym using the weights, you have to have a mask on," Wendt said.
Dr. Olayemi Osiyemi, an infectious disease specialist, agrees with health experts who say the masks are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19
So is the vaccine, but not everyone is vaccinated yet. In Florida so far, 24% of the total population is fully vaccinated.
"We're going the right direction. We don’t want to stop before we get to the goal line. We're almost there. I know people are tired, they are frustrated, they are fatigued," Osiyemi said.
CDC guidelines now say that you can visit with other fully vaccinated people without a mask once you’ve been vaccinated, or in a private setting with one household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk of severe illness…
But you still shouldn’t attend medium or large gatherings, even if you’ve been vaccinated.