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Florida surgeon general: Fully-vaccinated people shouldn't be advised to wear masks, avoid crowds anymore

Dr. Scott Rivkees on Thursday rescinded four public health advisories that had been issued during the pandemic.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees on Thursday rescinded previous public health advisories related to the COVID-19 pandemic and stated all government offices should be conducting business in-person again.

In a three-page advisory on behalf of the Florida Department of Health, Rivkees said the state had "a sufficient supply" of vaccines – enough to ensure any eligible Floridian who wanted one could be inoculated against coronavirus. He said science had proven the three vaccines cleared for emergency use in the United States helped protect people and dramatically diminished hospitalizations and deaths.

Rivkees said continuing COVID restrictions – including long-term mask usage and social distancing – with no end in sight poses a risk of unintended consequences. As such, he said fully-vaccinated people should no longer be advised to wear masks or avoid social and recreational gatherings – except in limited circumstances.

Government offices, the surgeon general added, should be conducting in-person operations and offering face-to-face services.

As of Thursday, 8.7 million Floridians had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Rivkees said no shots should be wasted. They should continue being distributed, he said, to any Floridians or people in the state for the purpose of providing goods and services that benefit Floridians or benefit the state's many visitors.

Beginning Friday, state-supported and federally-run vaccination sites in Florida won't require people to show multiple proofs of residency to be inoculated anymore.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday eased its guidance with regard to wearing masks outdoors. Federal health experts said Americans who had been fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 did not have to cover their faces outside anymore unless they were standing in big crowds of strangers, a slightly more restrictive set of guidelines than the state issued.

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