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Adjustments: Be respectful of masking guidelines

If it has felt more strange to you than you expected to know that guidelines for masks and other COVID-19 protocols are easing, you’re not alone. Fully vaccinated people all over the country have been told there are situations in which they can ditch the masks … and find themselves saying “It feels weird not to wear it.”

Who’d have thought, based on the way many of us felt about masks a year ago?

But it is important to remember the multi-layered nature of mask guidance — and that there are still situations in which everyone should be wearing them. Businesses, organizations, state governments and the federal government are not all in alignment just yet — nor do they have to be.

Even at the level of Congress, there is a challenge. The U.S. House of Representatives is still requiring all lawmakers to remain masked on the House floor, until all 435 members are fully vaccinated. It is their right to maintain that requirement, despite griping from those like Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., who complained “So much for following the science.”

Maybe, but the decision is understandable, given that only 1 in 4 members of the House is fully vaccinated.

For now, things in the Senate seem to be a bit more flexible.

“So we all looked at each other … we took all of our masks off,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Friday. “It felt very freeing, and we had a great discussion after that. We all felt good about it, and it certainly helps the flow of conversation.”

While we adjust to the rapidly changing COVID-19 guidance landscape, it is important we remember to be respectful of the rules put in place in various situations — and that we can’t take the relaxed guidance as a sign that our fight it over. If the situation calls for it, wear your mask. Be smart about continuing to follow other guidance that stops the spread of more than just a single virus. Get tested and then stay home, if you feel sick. And get vaccinated.

It will be a lot easier to pull all the guidance into alignment if vaccine rates climb to a rate that makes advisors comfortable we are meeting our goals. Get it done.

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