Do I need to wear a mask after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

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DENVER (KDVR) — According to officials at the Tri-County Health Department, people in Colorado who have received the COVID-19 vaccine should still being wearing a mask in public.

“It’s going to take several months for us to vaccinate enough people to allow us to have enough people immune protected, to release our other disease control measures, such as wearing a mask,” said Bernadette Albanese with the Tri-County Health Department. “The vaccines are not 100%, and while they are very good, we can’t say for sure what your level of immunize response is to the vaccine.”

The department said Wednesday that, while vaccinated people protect unvaccinated people, Colorado still has to vaccinate significantly more people to get rid of the mask mandate.

“Hang in there and be patient,” said Albanese. “We need you on both sides — the vaccination side and the side to comply with the other measures. There’s potential for misinterpretation for who is wearing and mask and who isn’t and for what reason.”

For Denver store owners, it’s a situation they haven’t given much thought yet, getting used to always wearing a mask in public and ensuring their customers do as well.

“I feel like I would still make them wear one,” Vanessa Acosta, manager of Menya Ramen and Poke in LoDo. “I would just nicely tell them to leave if they were not.”

Rob Mackenzie, owner of Wine Dispensary, would do the same. Even if a customer says they’ve been fully inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine, he or she will still need to wear a mask in the store.

“For now, we have to follow what the government has to say because that’s literally all we can do,” said Mackenzie. “We have read the horror stories about people not being respectful, the fights, but we’ve never experienced that.”

Waiting on orders from Gov. Polis and Mayor Hancock, retailers and restaurant owners won’t go against the mask mandate until given the green light.

“I don’t want to wear a mask either, but the first chance we can get to not wear a mask, I will definitely take mine off,” said Mackenzie. “I think we are seeing some optimism, some light at the end of the tunnel.”

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