PITTSBURGH – Following Tuesday’s Center for Disease Control’s announcement that fully vaccinated Americans may be without a mask outdoors unless they are in a large crowd of strangers, the venues are eager to get back to business as usual.
Before the news broke, places like PPG Paints and the Pittsburgh Penguins were already planning more fans in the stands. The penguins notified their season ticket holders because they were encouraged by the number of people vaccinated. They asked the Department of Health to consider establishing vaccinated sections for fans so that fans with proof of vaccination can sit closer to a protected environment.
The CDC’s decision should have been made much earlier, according to local doctor David Barker.
“I think this is long overdue. I think outside of the disease, the rate of spread of the disease is near minimal in the first place, and the time has come,” said Barker.
The new instructions enable unvaccinated people to get along without a mask while walking, cycling and jogging with other members of the household.
And Pittsburghers like Valerie Bacardi say timing is crucial for that decision.
“It seems ridiculous, especially when you are physically active. In the heat it is very difficult to have face covering when doing power walking. I think it’s a security issue in the opposite direction if you turn it off, ”said Boccardi.
And while this is a big step forward, health experts are still warning that crowded outdoor spaces still pose risks.
The Pirates and Kennywood told us at this point today that, despite the new guidelines, they are not planning any immediate changes to their mask guidelines.
The Steelers said they expect some changes in the coming months, but nothing at the moment.