HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday, recommending that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in places with high COVID-19 transmission, like South Florida.
The vast majority of hospitalizations in Broward and Miami-Dade are among the unvaccinated, but CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said there are rare occasions the highly contagious Delta Variant could be spread by the vaccinated.
“On that exception that you might have a vaccine breakthrough, we thought it was important for people to understand they could pass the disease onto someone else,” Walensky said.
Most big box stores have ended mask requirements for customers, but outside a Publix supermarket on Park Road in Hollywood on Tuesday afternoon, most people were seen walking inside with their faces covered.
“I think the virus is coming back up,” one shopper said.
“My significant other has underlying conditions,” said shopper Leon Cortez. “So I’m not willing to take any chances.”
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said he plans to introduce a resolution that would require city employees to use face coverings inside unless they choose to prove they’ve been fully vaccinated.
“If more people got vaccinated we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in right now,” Gelber said. “It’s discouraging that what we thought was in the rearview mirror is still with us.”
A spokesperson for Publix said the company is reviewing the latest CDC guidance and will provide an update should their mask policy change.
Regarding children at schools, some parents have been vocal about not agreeing with the CDC’s guidance for kids, that all students at K-12 schools should wear face coverings in the classroom.
School boards in Miami-Dade and Broward counties will be re-evaluating their plans.