Virginia is no longer requiring that people wear face masks indoors if they have been fully vaccinated, a move that reflects the COVID-19 pandemic’s waning threat in the state as vaccination rates rise and case rates fall.
However, there are some exceptions to the new rules. In addition to maintaining the state’s mask mandate for health care facilities, public transportation, and schools, the revised guidance lets businesses continue requiring masks within their establishments.
In the wake of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement, some businesses are continuing to mandate masks for all customers, while others are letting fully vaccinated customers go mask-free, depending on local and state regulations, though a few, like Trader Joe’s and Starbucks, are still requiring masks for employees.
With masks still “strongly recommended” in all settings for people who aren’t fully vaccinated, however, businesses largely seem to be relying on an honor system, raising questions for parents with children who aren’t eligible to be vaccinated yet and service workers who have to interact with a wide variety of customers.
Gov. Ralph Northam said earlier this month that he has not ruled out the possibility of vaccine “passports” as a means for people to prove they’ve been vaccinated before participating in certain activities, but for the time being, there are no plans to implement any such system.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay told Reston Now that he is “not aware of any concerns” from businesses about enforcing the new mask guidelines.
“I’m not aware of any concerns we have heard at this point, but per state guidance, businesses can make their own decisions about masking,” McKay said. “I encourage our businesses to do what they feel is best for the health and safety of their staff and customers.”
What approach makes you most comfortable when it comes to masks right now? Would you prefer that retail stores, theaters, and other businesses keep requiring masks to minimize confusion and risk, or should they let customers and workers go without masks, trusting that they’ve been vaccinated?
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