Fully-vaccinated Floridians can remove masks and return to social gatherings, state surgeon general says


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Fully-vaccinated individuals in Florida should no longer be told to wear masks or avoid large crowds, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees announced Thursday.

The three-page advisory says the new guidelines are a result of “tremendous steps” taken by the state to vaccinate nearly 9 million individuals. As of Thursday the state Department of Health reported 8.7 million Floridians had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.

More than 6 million people in the state are fully vaccinated, but University of South Florida Professor Jason Salemi said more than 9 million individuals in the state haven’t received a single shot. Additionally, he explained, one in five seniors haven’t received any doses of the vaccine.

Salemi said vaccination sites are seeing a plateau in the number of individuals seeking the shot.

Rivkees rescinded the coronavirus advisories issued between March 2020 through January 2021.

Under the new advisory released Thursday:

  • Fully-vaccinated individuals should no longer be advised to wear face coverings or avoid social and recreational gatherings except in limited circumstances
  • State government offices should be conducting in-person operations to carry out their duties and better serve Floridians
  • Vaccination administration should provide a COVID-19 vaccine to any eligible individual who is a Florida resident or who is present in Florida

Rivkees explained that offering the vaccine to non-Florida residents will prevent doses of the coronavirus vaccine from being wasted.

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