Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings gave an update on Wednesday about the county's ongoing mask mandate to combat coronavrius. In the wake of the CDC updating their guidelines around mask-wearing earlier in the week, Demings opted to reduce requirements on fully vaccinated people.
"As I have said many, many times, here in Orange County, we do follow the science," he said. "I have amended my facial covering executive order.
Demings laid out a three-phase rolling back of mask mandates, with the first phase effective immediately. The new rules dropped social distancing requirements for all people to three feet. It allowed for fully vaccinated people to visit other fully vaccinated people indoors. It also noted that fully vaccinated people can take part in maskless outdoor recreation, barring the presence of a crowd.
"I'm making this announcement with caution," Demings said. "I do not want us to get complacent."
Demings laid out further stages of the mask requirements being loosened. Phase 2, activated when more than 50% of Orange County residents 16 or over have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, will lift outdoor masking requirements for all people. Masks would still be required indoors.
Phase 3 would come into play when 70% of residents 16 or older had received at least one shot. At that point, all mandates will be lifted. Mask mandates would also be lifted if the 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate fell below 5%. Demings noted that the current vaccination rate in Orange County is 43.4%. The positivity rate is 8%.
"These are simple and achievable goals," he said.
Demings mulled over the idea of ending the mask mandates in Orange County, during a press conference earlier this month.
“We knew that we would not be in this phase forever where we would be requiring people to needlessly wear facial coverings,” he said.
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