People weigh in on Eau Claire County mask mandate following new CDC guidelines

Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 10:10 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Despite recent updated masking guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying people who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks in most settings, Eau Claire County still has a mask mandate for indoor public spaces.

That mandate may change though as the Eau Claire City Council and Eau County Board will meet Tuesday to discuss repealing the mask mandate, which is currently scheduled to expire June 30. The city council’s having a special meeting beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The county board’s meeting was already scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday. People can watch the county board meeting here. They can fill out a public comment form here. For the city council meeting, people can watch here and fill out the public comment form here.

“Vaccinated individuals can really return to life as usually is a step on that journey and we’re really excited about that,” Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese said.

After the May 13 CDC announcement, Eau Claire resident Eric Larsen thinks it’s time for the mask mandate to go.

“There’s no reason to extend it beyond what our national health experts recommend,” he said.

Larsen said he didn’t have the same opinion before the CDC issued its newest guidelines, adding he trusts the scientists.

“I believe them,” he said. “When they tell me that I’m safe to be without a mask and that those around me won’t get sick because I’m carrying something, then I believe that.”

Joaquin Nafstad, a student at UW-Eau Claire, agrees with Larsen that the city council and county board should repeal the mask mandate. He also ditching the mandate should stop businesses from requiring them if they want to.

“If the CDC and other agencies recommend getting rid of the mandate, I would be perfectly fine with removing the mandate,” he said. “However, if individual businesses want to require masks, such as like hospitals or other private businesses, I feel like if they want to require masks, then they could still require it.”

Most people told WEAU they want to see the mask mandate repealed since the CDC announced fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in most settings. Some people though still think the Eau Claire County shouldn’t stop requiring masks in indoor public spaces yet.

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