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Ohio to remove mask requirement for those with vaccinations

ON CAMPUS — Recent University of Akron graduate Sulochana Shrestha, right, poses for a photo taken by her sister, Sushma, on campus Thursday. — Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Ohio is removing a mask requirement immediately for people who are fully vaccinated, in keeping with new guidance from the federal government, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday.

DeWine, a Republican, said in a statement that unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks and socially distance, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

The governor said existing health orders still won’t be fully lifted until June 2, as he had announced Wednesday, but the wording will be updated to match CDC guidelines. The June 2 date was chosen to give those who need to ample time to get vaccinated.

Updated CDC guidance released Thursday says unvaccinated people can go without masks for the mostpart. They should still be worn in health care settings, on public transportation, including airplanes, and when a business or employer requires them.

“The most powerful tool we have to protect against the COVID-19 virus is the vaccine,” DeWine said. “Because of the vaccine, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are decreasing dramatically. The vaccine allows us to live our lives more normally and without fear.”

DeWine’s decison came hours after W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice said he would lift the face covering mandate for residents who are fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Pennsylvania state officials issued a similar order Thursday.

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