Orange County rolls out 3-phase plan to do away with face masks

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings on Wednesday announced that he has amended his facial covering executive order.

There will be 3 phases to the updated mask ordinance that will eventually lead to dropping mask-wearing completely in the county.

Phase 1

  • Effective immediately: Physical distancing will be reduced from 6-feet to 3-feet in all settings
  • Fully vaccinated individuals should follow all updated guidelines for facial coverings that were announced by the CDC on Tuesday. You can find those guidelines HERE

Phase 2 

  • Phase 2 will begin when 50% of the county's population 16 and older have received their 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Face coverings for outdoor activities will be lifted for all individuals. Masks will be required for all indoor activities, except when eating or drinking
  • Physically distancing for individuals of at least 3-feet will be strongly encouraged 

Phase 3

  • Phase 3 will begin when 70% of the population in the county 16 and older receives their 1st dose and/or the county's 14-day rolling positivity rate drops to 5% or below
  • All mandates will be lifted

Mayor Demings says he believes these goals are achievable. 

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," Demings said, although he does not want the county's residents to get complacent.

He wants residents to be cautious and if you are around someone you don't know, assume they are not vaccinated. 

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Mayor Demings said a couple of weeks ago that the county was looking at making changes to its mask mandate. This was before the CDC issued new guidance for fully vaccinated people, saying that they can be outside without a mask as long as they are not in large crowds of strangers.

The CDC says it's safe to be outdoors or indoors in small gatherings without a mask as long as others are fully vaccinated. However, masks are recommended for situations with large crowds or for activities like indoor shopping and salon visits.

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Also, if you are only partially vaccinated, or not at all, masks are recommended for all situations where you are around others.

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates.