Outdoor mask guidance could be relaxed, local medical expert weighs in

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — You might no longer need to wear a face mask while outside. The CDC is expected to relax certain guidelines, with President Biden planning to announce the new guidance sometime this week.

Dr. John Sellick of UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences spoke with News 4 Monday. He said the risk of contracting COVID-19 while outdoors is low, especially in Western New York where we tend to deal with breezier conditions.

Sellick also said the risk depends whether someone is vaccinated.

“Those of us who have been vaccinated – I feel very comfortable being outdoors and I don’t feel I’m at significant risk when I golf, go out for a walk or go out and work in the yard even if the neighbors are out in their yard,” Sellick said.

But this might not apply everywhere. Sellick said outdoor venues with crowds, including Highmark Stadium and Sahlen Fiel, will likely still enforce mask-wearing since people will be together for longer periods of time and might not always be social distancing.

“My old saying is the great outdoors absolves many sins, but not all sins,” he said.

Sellick also emphasized just because we’ll see relaxed mask mandates, it doesn’t mean we can take COVID-19 any less seriously, especially as Western New York continues to have the highest infection rate across New York State.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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