Face Masks Not Required Outdoors


Aligning with CDC’s new guidance permitting fully vaccinated persons to forgo wearing face masks while outdoors, Governor Roy Cooper announced a new Executive Order to take effect on Friday, April 30.

For our campus policy, Deerfield will adopt the terms of the state’s amended mask mandate as follows: Masks, covering both the nose and the mouth, are still required in indoor public spaces, even for fully vaccinated persons.
Fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to wear masks outdoors, with the following exceptions:
• Masks should be worn outdoors by persons singing or shouting when appropriate social distancing may not be maintained.
• Masks should be worn outdoors in crowded situations when appropriate social distancing may not be maintained.
• For Health Center residents engaging in outdoor visitation, and their visitors, masks are required.
• Persons who are not fully vaccinated, for any reason, should continue to wear masks in all public places, including outdoors.

This pleasant change in guidance reflects the scientific evidence that COVID-19 transmits less readily outdoors than indoors because open air rapidly dilutes and displaces viral particles. We are thrilled that Independent Living residents will now have the opportunity to feel the sun’s rays kiss their full faces when walking outdoors on campus, to hike or play croquet or pickleball without a mask, to gather for social drinks outdoors, and to revel in the bliss of al fresco dining on our Bistro’s patio. This is one more meaningful step in the direction of normalcy, just in time for warmer weather.

As more Americans become vaccinated, as our scientific evidence base related to this particular virus increases, and as we become ever more accustomed to living during the time of this pandemic, COVID-19 news and its urgency is waning. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. Continue to avoid unnecessary risks. Stay committed or recommit to consistently and conscientiously practicing the 3Ws when appropriate. Wear a mask in public indoor spaces. Wait at least 6 feet apart from others and avoid crowds. Wash your hands often. Encourage others to be vaccinated when it is their turn.