How the CDC's New Guidance on Mask Wearing Is Impacting Events Professionals

Source : PCMA

Author: Michelle Russell

In the latest COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard, planners and suppliers were divided about whether the new guidance for fully vaccinated individuals will translate into greater attendance at in-person events. But the majority of planners agreed that it wasn’t making planning those events any easier.

In a surprise move, just days before we invited the business events community to participate in our May COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that fully vaccinated individuals no longer had to wear masks outdoors and indoors, except in hospitals, on public transit, and other specified places.

CDC’s latest guidance, according to Science News, caught scientists off guard. While it “offered a glimmer of hope that the pandemic’s end was inching closer,” said the article’s writers, “it has also caused confusion, anger, and worry,” leaving even experts to wonder “what it meant for individuals and society as a whole.”

Respondents to this month’s survey — 232 planners and 143 suppliers — seemed to take the CDC’s May 13 announcement as more of a positive than a cause for concern. Sixty-one percent of planners vs. 50 percent in the April Dashboard said they were feeling hopeful. That sense of optimism was even more pronounced among suppliers — 70 percent checked off the hopeful option compared to 51 percent last month, and 7 percent fewer supplier respondents said they were feeling anxious about the future (17 percent vs. 24 percent).

Respondents were not, however, of the mind that the CDC news would flip the “on” switch for large, in-person events. More than half of planners (55 percent) said that the new mask guidance has not made it easier for them to plan in-person events. Likely that’s because the CDC guidance is not a federal mask mandate — that’s determined by states and even by local businesses and private entities. Some states have lifted the mandate to wear masks on the heels of the CDC guidance and those changes are ongoing, so that adds more flux to the mix.

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