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Maine CDC Removes Outdoor Mask Mandate

YE Top Stories Maine
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
In this Aug. 11, 2020, file photo, women wear masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus at the end of a beach day in Ogunquit, Maine.

The state of Maine announced on Tuesday that, following new federal guidance, face coverings are no longer required in outdoor settings.

"The U.S. CDC has finished its analysis, it comports with the analysis that we've been doing, so why wait another day?" Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said at a briefing Tuesday.

Shah stressed that the change only applies to outdoor masking.

The U.S. CDC concluded that fully vaccinated people could go mask-less outside- and in some cases it was likely safe for unvaccinated people as well.

"Outdoor gatherings are significantly, significantly safer," he said, "for a number of different reasons, either because there is more ventilation that disperses the virus, there may be an effect because of UV light, things of that nature."

At the moment, the state is dropping outdoor masking for all Mainers, whether vaccinated or not.

Indoor face coverings are still required, as is physical distancing.

Shah notes that people should still mask up if the outdoor setting they're in is crowded.

The changes come as the Maine CDC reports five deaths associated with COVID-19 on Tuesday. That's in addition to 425 cases of the disease.

The state reports that it has vaccinated 43% of eligible Mainers with a full series of shots. About 54% of Mainers have had at least a first dose of vaccine.

The state is again using the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine at its mobile clinic, after federal regulators ruled that the vaccine could be used, but that recipients should be informed of the very rare potential of serious blood clots in some people.