Governor Ricketts: Nebraska won't be following new CDC mask guidance

PICT 64J1 EarthTalk Travelers wearing masks - FlickrCC - Chad Davis
Published Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Center Square

(The Center Square) - Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts isn't mincing words about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) new guidance urging Americans to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status.

"The CDC's new guidance suggesting that vaccinated people wear masks indoors flies in the face of the public health goals that should guide the agency's decision making," Ricketts said in a statement. The CDC announcement only furthers the distrust many have with the CDC and does not help to encourage more people to get the vaccines that are helping bring the pandemic to a conclusion. The state of Nebraska will not be adopting their mask guidance."

The CDC said Tuesday that all students and teachers should wear masks, even if they are vaccinated, and that all Americans, including those with the vaccine, should wear masks in public places where the virus has a significant presence. The agency, in reversing guidance released in May that said vaccinated Americans didn't need to wear masks, cited the Delta variant of COVID, which is more transmissible.

But Ricketts said Nebraska schools would not be mandating masks.

"Furthermore, I will reiterate my expectations for schools and universities in the fall. Schools should convene in person without mask or vaccine requirements," he said.

The governor said the federal government needs to stop telling people how to live their lives.

"Nebraskans exercise personal responsibility for their own health, and are encouraged to have a conversation with their doctor about the vaccine," he said. "These conversations will be important because the virus will be with us forever. Working together, we've successfully protected hospital capacity throughout the pandemic. It's time for the CDC and the government to get out of the way, and to stop trying to tell people how to live their lives."

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