CDC lifts restrictions on fully vaccinated people; some Jacksonville restaurants take notice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday updated COVID-19 recommendations to allow fully vaccinated people to be maskless in any setting, unless masks are required by federal or state rules or by businesses that people are entering.

The updated guidelines also say that fully vaccinated people don’t have to worry about social distancing.

Some restaurants in the Jacksonville area have taken notice to the change, including the Bearded Pig in San Marco. A sign at the restaurant reads in part: “We will now allow our fully vaccinated employees to have the option not to wear a mask while working.”

Downtown at the Burrito Gallery, employees there now have the same option.

“But, we still wear a mask as much as possible to make the next person feel comfortable when they come in here,” said Tyler Pernal, manager at the Burrito Gallery.

Back in San Marco, Seafood Island and Grill employees are all vaccinated but say they will keep their masks on while working.

News4Jax spoke with Lauren Aycock, who works in the health care field, as she passed through the Five Points neighborhood.

“My bigger concern is people saying, ‘Oh yeah, I’m vaccinated. I don’t need to wear my mask.’ How are business owners who want to protect themselves and their employees ensure people who are not wearing their mask have been actually vaccinated?” she said.

Notably, businesses and restaurants in Florida are not permitted to require people show documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccinations or post-infection recovery before gaining entry. Florida lawmakers recently passed a COVID-19 “passport” ban.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The guidelines recommend that fully vaccinated people get tested only if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.

For international travel, the recommendations said fully vaccinated people don’t need to be tested for COVID-19 unless such testing is a requirement of the destinations.

According to the latest Florida Department of Health report, 7,327,823 people in Florida have completed their required vaccine doses. The report does not indicate how many of those people are fully vaccinated after finishing the two-week period following final doses.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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