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Fauci: 'Perfectly reasonable' for businesses to keep mask mandates

Fauci: 'Perfectly reasonable' for businesses to keep mask mandates
© Greg Nash

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says he puts 'very little weight in the craziness of condemning me' Beware language and the art of manipulation The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay MORE, the nation's top infectious diseases expert said Tuesday that it's “perfectly reasonable and understandable” for businesses to keep mandates in place following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent guidance on fully vaccinated people and masks. 

The CDC on Thursday issued new guidance stating that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors or to maintain social distancing. The announcement, however, has garnered confusion and rebuke from front-line workers and nurses.

Speaking to ABC News’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, Fauci acknowledged that the guidance poses a challenge for businesses because there’s no way of knowing that someone is vaccinated.

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“The problem and the issue is that we don’t have any way of knowing who is vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated,” Fauci said.

“I think that’s where the confusion arises because there are some establishments who are saying, 'Well, I’m going to have people coming into my establishment or my store, or what have you, some are going to be vaccinated, some are not, I’m not going to know the difference.'"

"Some might be infected and might actually have a risk of infecting someone else,” he continued.

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Fauci said under those circumstances, “it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable for the owner of that establishment to say, ‘You know, we’re going to keep the mask mandate up.’”

Several companies — Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Starbucks, Publix, Costco and, most recently, Target — have dropped mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers.

The guidance says that fully vaccinated people — two weeks past your last required dose — don’t have to wear masks indoors or outdoors and won’t have to maintain physical distance.

However, the guidance doesn’t apply to those in health care settings, correctional facilities or homeless shelters. In addition, people will still have to adhere to local business and workplace guidance. Masks are also required on trains, buses, in airports and on airplanes. 

But CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyOvernight Health Care: Biden touts 300 million vaccine doses in 150 days | Biden warns of 'potentially deadlier' delta variant | Public option fades with little outcry from progressives Biden warns of 'potentially deadlier' delta variant, urges public to get vaccine Watch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing MORE told ABC’s “This Week" on Sunday that the guidance doesn’t mean a “widespread removal of masks,” adding that such decisions “have to be made at the jurisdictional level."

According to the CDC, 157 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 123 million people have been fully vaccinated.