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Mask Mandate To Remain In Place Despite CDC Relaxing Restrictions, Governor Says

CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Albert Bryan said this week that the territory will not be changing or updating mask rules, despite the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He also made clear that the mask rules would not be changing any time soon.

“Continue to wear your mask. I don’t care what the CDC says,” the Governor during the Government House weekly press briefing in St. Croix. He added, “we cannot afford to take any steps backward on our path to normalcy.”

Bryan referenced the lack of guidance from the CDC on determining who has been vaccinated and who has not. Enforcing such a distinction would be “impossible,” he said.

He also pointed out that the majority of Virgin Islanders still have not been vaccinated. To date, 49 percent of the population has received one shot, but that is far from the Governor’s goal of vaccinating 50,000 individuals by July 1, 2021. Even when that goal is reached, Governor Bryan acknowledged, the territory is far from reaching herd immunity.

As other states and territories loosen mask mandates, the Governor was adamant that the USVI was one of the first territories to implement a mask mandate and would probably be the last to revoke it.

In the meantime, he asked residents and tourists to continue to follow the mask mandate. “We know that masks are effective,” the governor said.

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