The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Local leaders should let us go mask-free outdoors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. (David Goldman/AP)
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Regarding the April 28 front-page article “Fully vaccinated can go maskless outside, CDC says”:

Allegedly, there is a state law in Alabama and Kentucky that makes carrying an ice cream cone in one’s pocket illegal. In the 1800s, thieves placed cones in their back pockets with the intent of luring horses away to steal them. The law is antiquated yet is rumored to remain in place in some states. Some laws are like that: They are there because of the context or unknown factors. It is the government’s job to recognize when a law is irrelevant or outdated, and then change it. Otherwise, the government loses some legitimacy.

To their credit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Biden administration recognized that the coronavirus is much less contagious outdoors. In fact, a study in Ireland found that only 0.1 percent of coronavirus transmission occurred in outdoor settings. In response to a better understanding of the virus and increasing vaccinations, the Biden administration has shifted its recommendations on wearing masks outside. When will Virginia and other states with outdoor mask mandates follow suit? It’s time.

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora, Springfield

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