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CDC, state update COVID-19 mask requirements


Many Nevadans can put away their COVID-19 face coverings for daily use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released updated guidance for mask usage related to the COVID-19 pandemic advising that fully-vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask in most indoor and outdoor locations.

Fully-vaccinated individuals can also cease social distancing, except as required by federal, state, local or tribal laws, rules and regulations, or workplace guidance.

Gov. Steve Sisolak, earlier this month, issued a directive tying Nevada’s mask mandate to CDC recommendations on mask usage. With the CDC’s updated guidance, Nevada’s requirements immediately changed to follow suit.

A person is considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 if it has been at least two weeks since their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks since their single dose of the Janssen vaccine.

Individuals who haven’t received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or have yet to meet the requirements to be considered fully-vaccinated must continue following precautions as previously directed: wearing masks or face coverings and social distancing.

business with mask signage in front door
Businesses can still require customers to wear a mask. Image: Bianca Wright / This Is Reno

Masking will still be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, for travel aboard planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation. They’re also still required in indoor and outdoor locations with large crowds.

Business can still ask and confirm vaccination status of individuals and enforce mask policies more restrictive than those outlined by the CDC, the state and county.

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated will need to weigh their own risk tolerance when deciding when and where to wear a mask. In a statement announcing the new guidance, the governor ‘s office said “COVID-19 is still very much a threat in our State and many Nevadans may choose to continue using masks based on their and their families’ personal health concerns. Others should respect this choice.”

Control of other COVID-19 mitigation measures was turned over to local authorities on May 1. The governor’s announcement notes that measures not related to masking as outlined in those plans are still in effect.

Washoe County’s “Roadmap to Recovery Mitigation Measures” plan eliminated capacity restrictions for businesses but still requires social distancing between groups, which is defined as up to 10 people. Social distancing requirements will be dropped June 1 if the county can stay out of the red zone on the COVID risk meter and keep case counts down.

The governor’s office released several additional updates related to the new CDC guidance:

  • The State of Nevada neither requires nor prohibits private entities from confirming vaccination status of individuals. Employers and organizations are encouraged to post signage with the latest CDC mask guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests.
  • Private entities and organizations may have mask policies that are more restrictive than the CDC guidance. Workers should consult with their employers regarding workplace COVID-19 safety protocols.
  • If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your health care provider. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions.

Nevadans are also encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Children as young as 12 years old are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine information and locations are available online at NVCOVIDFighter.org or call 1-800-401-0946.

Washoe County Health District is offering vaccinations at its Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center point of distribution without appointments. It will be closed Saturday through Monday to move operations to the west side of the facility, but resume vaccinations on Tuesday, May 18.

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