Philly health officials say it's too soon to ease outdoor mask restrictions

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As the weather gets nicer and the number of vaccinated people grows, some people have been asking if it's still necessary to wear a mask outside.

The CDC has been considering lifting the mask mandate for people outside in non-crowded spaces, passing people on the street briefly.

"I won't wear a mask outside at all," said Shanda Brown from West Philadelphia.

Brown was exercising along Kelly Drive with Zarrin Jennings, and both told Action News they have no plans to put their masks on outside.

"We already got to wear it indoors, you know, stores and stuff, it's just like let us have our freedom," said Jennings.

The CDC is currently looking into relaxing mask mandates outside, as more people are getting vaccinated.

"I hope they do, and I hope it does go into effect real soon, because like even my mask is in the car, I refuse. If they would have told me I couldn't be out here without it on, I would have gotten in my car and went home and got on the treadmill," said Brown.

Others say they have gotten accustomed to wearing a mask and feel safer with it on, regardless of eased restrictions.

"I think we just have to think for ourselves and assess the situation whether you want your mask on or off," said Cherry Mcmonagle from Brewerytown.

A local doctor told Action News people should keep a mask handy outside in case they run into others.

"We just have to be aware of who we're around. A lot of times, we don't know people's vaccination status," said Delana Wardlaw, a family practice physician.

Anderson Lima told Action News he's fully vaccinated but will raise his mask if he walks by folks.

"When I see somebody, I put it up," said Lima, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Some say they make sure to keep their distance on walks.

"It was just us like we're not walking near anyone," said Wajihah Williams from Glenside, Montgomery County.

A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Health told Action News, "With rising case rates in the city and around the region, it is way too early to start thinking about relaxing mask mandates. Masks are one of the most effective tools we have in fighting COVID-19. We have no plans to relax our mask-wearing mandates at this point."
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