CDC Begs States Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions To Not Risk Another Deadly Wave

by Joseph K. Clark

“People want to stay safe, but at the same time, the fatigue has hit,” said Ryan Luke, who is organizing a weekend rally in Eagle, Idaho, to encourage people to patronize businesses that don’t require masks. “We just want to live a quasi-normal life.”

Michael Junge argued against a mask mandate when officials in the Missouri tourist town of Branson passed one and said he hasn’t enforced it in his Lost Boys Barber Company. He said he was sick of it.

“I think the whole thing is a joke, honestly,” he said. “They originally said that this was going to go for a month, and they have pushed it out to indefinitely. … It should have been done a long time ago.”

Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions

In San Francisco, an upbeat Mayor London Breed announced that California gave the green light to indoor dining and the reopening of movie theaters and gyms.

“You can enjoy your city, right here, right now,” she said from Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. She added: “We are not where we need to be yet, but we’re getting there, San Francisco.”

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he is getting rid of most mask mandates and lifting most other restrictions, including limits on seating in restaurants, starting Wednesday.

“The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” the Republican said.

Florida, which is getting ready for spring break travelers to flock to its sunny beaches, is considered to be in an “active outbreak,” along with Texas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and South Carolina, according to the data-tracking website CovidActNow.

During his annual State of the State address Tuesday that he welcomes more visitors to Florida in his drive to keep the State’s economy thriving.

Florida municipalities can impose their own mask rules and curfews, restrict beach access and place some limits on bars and restaurants, but some have virtually no such measures in place.

Miami Beach will require masks indoors and out and restrict the number of people allowed on the beach and in bars and restaurants.

“If you want to party without restrictions, then go somewhere else. Go to Vegas,” Miami Beach City Manager Raul Aguila said during a recent virtual meeting. “We will be taking a zero-tolerance attitude towards that behavior.”

In Michigan, the All Business Is Essential group has resisted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s virus policies, and many people are ignoring mask requirements and other measures, said group leader Erik Kiilunen.

“At some point, you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Do I want a zero-risk life?’” he said. “It’s become a farce, really. People have quit living for a year, at what price?”

“I think everybody wants things to get back the way they were,” said Aubrey D. Jenkins, the fire chief in Columbia, South Carolina, whose department issues dozens of $100 citations every weekend to bar-goers who refuse to wear masks or keep their distance. “But we still have to be really cautious.”

Associated Press writers Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; Anila Yoganathan in Tucker, Georgia; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi; John Flesher in Traverse City, Michigan; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Janie Har in San Francisco; and David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this story.

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