Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

U.S. federal parks, buildings will not require masks for vaccinated -U.S. official

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White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Senior Advisor to the President Anita Dunn, Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Communications Director Katherine Bedingfield and other staff members stand without protective face masks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) - New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released this week means that fully vaccinated staff, contractors and visitors no longer need masks in federal buildings or on federal lands, according to an official with the Office of Management and Budget familiar with the situation.

The shift could affect hundreds of millions of visitors who go to U.S. national parks every year, from California's redwood forest to the seacoast in Acadia, Maine, as well as the country's millions of federal workers and contractors.

The move also risks further confusion and confrontation over mask-wearing, which has become highly politicized.

Details of the implementation such as when it would go into effect, how it would be handled and who would be responsible for vetting people's vaccination status have not yet been determined, this person said. It was also unclear when this shift will be formally announced, but it could come as soon as next week.

The U.S. National Parks Department had no immediate comment.

The change follows an official recommendation on Thursday by the CDC that fully vaccinated people could go mask-less indoors in most places, a significant shift toward normalcy for the United States, where the pandemic has killed more than half a million people. read more

Reporting by Diane Bartz Editing by Chris Reese

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