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No more disinfectants needed? CDC rolls out new COVID-19 guidelines

The CDC now says cleaning alone with soap and water is usually enough and that disinfecting is likely only needed in some circumstances.

TAMPA, Fla. — A major backtrack by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

This week, the agency announced all those cleaning supplies you stocked up on during the pandemic - you may not need. But, why is this advice coming out more than a year after the pandemic? Experts say it's all part of the learning curve.

"When COVID hit last year, all bets were off and no one really knew what the cleaning and safety rules were," Oyster Bar and Crafty Squirrel owner Josh Cameron said. 

It's hard to forget the empty shelves in grocery stores as demand for cleaning supplies skyrocketed due to the pandemic. Restaurant owner Josh Cameron says he spent a ton on cleaning supplies for safety.

"Prices on all cleaning items were going up everywhere. We ended up spending an extra $4,000-$5,000 a month on cleaning supplies," Cameron said.

RELATED: CDC: COVID-19 variant first found in Britain now most common in US

Now, more than a year after the pandemic started, the CDC is rolling out new guidelines saying disinfectants are only needed in certain times.

"You now only need to use disinfectants if you have a known COVID case in the area or if it's a high-traffic area," Public health expert Dr. Jay Wolfson said. 

The updated policy could have saved so many a lot of money. But Dr. Wolfson says to see this new change as a positive step forward. As for why it's coming out now and not earlier: 

"One of the reasons is we have a new administration and director of the CDC who is looking closely at all the data and interpreting it. And they are doing it differently than the past administration," Dr. Wolfson said.

The CDC still recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces after having visitors but calls the transmission of the virus from contaminated surfaces and objects "low."

"It's all new territory for all of us. Had we known what we know now a year ago I'm sure we would have a different plan of attack," Cameron said.

Cameron says as we learn to safely get back to normal he is noticing a new challenge restaurants are facing. 

RELATED: Soap and water are enough to reduce COVID-19 risk in your home, says CDC

"There's a big staff shortage. So, when you are out keep in mind you may have to wait an extra 10 minutes or more. Many restaurants have reduced hours and are having a hard time keeping staff up in the back," he said.

The CDC says it's important for everyone to stay vigilant and wear a mask in public and to avoid person-to-person spread of COVID-19 through close contact.

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