The Monroe County Health Department will rescind its COVID-19 health order Monday, May 17 at 8 a.m., according to a press release Friday. Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton will also rescind Executive Order 20-03, which limited non-commercial gatherings within city limits to 15 people, according to a release. That order will also go into effect May 17.
The announcement means that Monroe County’s mask mandate and physical distancing requirements will end May 17, rather than May 28, when existing guidelines were set to expire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directed unvaccinated individuals to continue to socially distance and use masks. Organizations and businesses may also still require masks and socially distancing.
“Our plan was to remove the Health Order once we reached the blue advisory level category on the Indiana Department of Health Covid-19 map. We are on track to reach that goal early next week,” Sharp said in the release.
The release notes that this change is in line with recent guidance from the CDC, which said fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask or socially distance when inside or outside. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after a second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.
Masks are still advised for individuals with certain health conditions, including the immunocompromised, and the release states that individuals who are unsure whether they should continue masking should ask their doctor.
In the release, Monroe County Health Department Administrator Penny Caudill said the new CDC guidance should incentivize people to get vaccinated.
“If you are unvaccinated, then masks and distancing remain a vital precaution to ensure your health and the health of those around you.” Caudill said. “Only those aged twelve and older are eligible, so we still have many who are not able to be vaccinated yet.”
The Monroe County Board of Health will meet May 19 to “assess data and consider further updates or changes,” according to the release.