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Venues looking forward to loosening mask mandates

PITTSBURGH — Following Tuesday’s announcement from the Center for Disease Control that fully vaccinated Americans can forgo a mask outdoors, unless they are in a large crowd of strangers, venues are anxious to get back to business as usual.

Before the news broke, places like PPG paints and the Pittsburgh Penguins were already planning for more fans in the stands. The Penguins notified their season ticket holders because they were encouraged by the number of people vaccinated,  they petitioned the State Department of Health to consider creating vaccinated sections for fans, to allow fans with proof of vaccination to sit closer in they call a protected environment.

The CDC’s decision is one that should’ve been made much sooner, according to local doctor David Barker.

“I think this is long overdue I think outside the disease the rate of spreading the disease is almost minimal in the first place and so it’s about time,” Barker said.

The new guidance also allows unvaccinated people to go without masks when walking, biking, and jogging with other household members.

And Pittsburghers like Valerie Bacardi say the timing on this decision is crucial.

“It seems ludicrous especially if you’re physically active. It’s very difficult in the heat to have a face covering if you’re running biking powerwalking whatever so I think it’s a safety issue in the opposite direction to have it off,” Boccardi said.

And while this is a big step forward, health experts still caution that crowded outdoor settings still pose risks.

The Pirates and Kennywood today told us at this point even with the new guidelines they don’t plan on making any immediate changes to their mask policy.

The Steelers said they expect some changes in the coming months but nothing right now.