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Nevada eases mask mandate to align with CDC guidance

Updated May 3, 2021 - 7:21 pm

CARSON CITY — Nevadans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may now move about outdoors mask-free following the state’s move to align local restrictions with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the latest emergency directive Monday. The CDC’s new guidance was issued April 27. The governor’s directive includes language that will see Nevada track all future changes in guidance from the CDC.

Fully vaccinated individuals are classified as those two weeks out from either their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Per the CDC, those who are fully vaccinated may go without masks for outdoor activities except in certain crowded settings. An unvaccinated person can also go maskless to small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people.

However, everyone should keep wearing masks at crowded outdoor events such as concerts or sporting events, the CDC says.

And the agency continues to recommend masks at indoor public places, such as hair salons, restaurants, shopping centers, gyms, museums and movie theaters, saying that is still the safer course even for vaccinated people.

The governor’s directive notes that businesses “shall ensure that all patrons, customers, patients, or clients utilize face coverings” consistent with the latest guidance, “which may include prohibiting persons without face coverings from entering any indoor premises.”

The CDC’s guidance also lifted travel restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated, although the Transportation Security Administration extended face mask requirements through mid-September for travel by air, bus or train.

The CDC still recommends that people avoid large indoor gatherings and that those with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems continue to take heightened precautions to avoid infection.

As of Monday, 47 percent of eligible Clark County residents have received at least one vaccination shot, slightly more than the 45.4 percent statewide that have had at least one shot. More than 32.3 percent of eligible Nevadans statewide have been fully vaccinated.

Once 60 percent of the population has received one dose of the vaccine, social distancing and capacity restrictions will be removed.

Health officials in Las Vegas say they hope to administer more than 1,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine a day to area residents once a big drive-thru COVID-19 shot clinic opens Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The clinic at 3150 Paradise Road will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Since the start of the pandemic, the federal government has struggled to accomplish consistency in public health measures from state to state. The CDC has issued guidelines on masks, social distancing, travel and other activities, but governors decide whether to adhere to the measures. Some states never had mask mandates, while others still have them.

About half of U.S. states and a number of territories instituted local mask mandates as the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in 2020. Many, like Nevada, have rolled back those rules in accordance with the CDC’s recommendations.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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