Mixed views toward masks, flexibility toward vaccine as COVID-19 cases surge

Coronavirus cases are rising, and we are seeing more people get vaccinated and masking up. While there’s not a steep rise in vaccinations, it’s steady.

Last week, Florida Department of Health reported more than 8,000 people were vaccinated in Southwest Florida. That’s up from 6,600 the week prior. However, we are still far from herd immunity.

We spoke to people about the rising cases and attitudes toward the COVDI-19 vaccine and mask wearing. The women told us they are back to masking up full-time. Others say they’re wearing masks when they are required.

And many people told us their friends and family — who have been hesitant about vaccines — are beginning to open up to the idea of getting the shot.

“I’ve never stopped using [the mask],” Myrna Soto said. “All the time when I was in the stores. I use [masks] in the stores all the time.”

“I’ve been wearing it the whole time since the beginning of the pandemic,” Alejandra Velez said.

Others keep it in their pocket and bring it out when it’s a requirement.

“I wear a mask when I have to,” Ryan Close said. “If there’s no mask required, then, maybe have a sign that says, ‘enter at your own risk’. I mean, it’s up to really the businesses more than the people.”

Everyone we spoke to knows people in their lives who are still hesitant about the shots.

“Some of my friends have decided to wait a little bit and see how it responded are more likely and want to get it,” Velez said.

Responses were mixed, but some said the rise in cases is making their friends and family reconsider the shot.

“They are a little more open,” Soto said. “They have some worries, but they’re a little more open.”

“I’m glad that they’re a lot more open now to getting the vaccine, and they want to,” Velez said. “Again, it’s just doing your part for our community.”

Others say they know people who still refuse to get vaccinated.

“I also have talked with a lot of people that they refuse to get the vaccine,” Close said. And, I mean, even in their line of work, if they have to, they said they’d quit.”

Some people we spoke to Wednesday who did not want to be interviewed for air or online told us they will not go back to wearing masks and will even avoid businesses that require them. Others said they have no problem if businesses bring back mask requirements.

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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