While some businesses in El Paso have begun to ease mask restrictions or no longer require face coverings for fully vaccinated shoppers and employees, El Paso’s top doc is still advocating their use.

You’ve probably heard by now that The Centers for Disease Control now says the fully vaxed don't need to wear masks anymore and are safe to do many of the things they could not do for much of the pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday (5/14), El Paso City and County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza stressed that the CDC’s amended guidance pertains to those who are fully immunized -- one J&J or two of the others – but that even then your safest bet is to not ditch the mask until more El Pasoans are fully vaccinated.

He added that the City of El Paso will “continue to recommend wearing the face-covering” for now.

According to a COVD-19 Vaccine Tracker, 40% of people in El Paso County are fully vaccinated as of May 17. Close to 53% have only had one of the two doses that particular vaccine requires. Local health officials say the magic herd immunity number is 75% of the population be fully vaxed.

Do I Still Need to Mask Up in Stores and Restaurants?

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That is up to both the individual and the individual private business. Some, like Target, Costco, and Walmart have announced the fully vaxed can go maskless in their stores except where required by local ordinances, and others will continue to enforce mask-wearing. If you’ve had your shot(s) you can either wear or not wear yours depending on your level of comfortableness and what that particular store or restaurant allows.

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