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When can everyone stop wearing masks? We asked a local doctor

With more and more people getting vaccinated around the Pittsburgh area, many are asking: when can we finally take off our masks for good?

As of April 13, every adult in Pennsylvania is eligible to make an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine. It will bring us one step closer to getting “back to normal,” but one local doctor told Channel 11 it all depends on one key factor.

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“The key to us going back to normal where we are not wearing masks in the future all depends on how many people get vaccinated,” said Dr. Tariq Cheema, with Allegheny Health Network.

Cheema said our region is not at the point yet where residents can safely go maskless. A prime example of why, Cheema said, is the recent spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Pittsburgh and several other places across the country.

However, if vaccinations keep up, and end to the mask mandate may be in sight -- hopefully within the next few months.

But if you are returning to the office, wearing a mask may be the safest bet in order to protect your coworkers who are not vaccinated.

“Probably in the next couple of months, hopefully we can see things loosening up a little more and things start looking more back to normal,” Cheema said. “You are not going to know if the coworker is vaccinated or not. And by wearing the mask, you’re protecting your coworker.”

Cheema said official guidance on masks will come from the CDC.

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