Maria Lopez walks on the sidewalk in Canyon Country wearing her mask. Photo by Dianna Mojica

With the COVID-19 vaccination becoming accessible to the general public, some people are considering facemasks unnecessary.

As of April 15, the COVID-19 vaccination is available to all Los Angeles County residents aged 16 and older. With the recent change in access to the vaccination, at least 50% of Californians have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

While COVID-19 is leveling out, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends everybody age 2 and above wear a cloth mask completely covering their mouth and nose.

On April 13, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Santa Clarita Valley was up to 27,356 and a few days later on April 18, the COVID-19 cases went up to 27,439, according to reports from the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.

Some individuals have opted to not follow the CDC recommendations for wearing masks because the surge in cases is not as apparent as it was last summer. 

At the start of the pandemic, typically one would not see any sign indicating one must wear a mask, whereas, in the present time, masks are now incorporated into the rules and regulations one must abide by in a public area.

There have been recent reports of Santa Clarita Valley residents refusing to wear masks in public locations.

“I never cared about the masks,” Richie Orozco, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, said. “I don’t think it was the right way to go. The only reason I still wear a mask is because I work in retail. I have my vaccine, so I’m safe.”

Illustration of COVID-19. Source: CDC.

On April 5, 31.8% of the Santa Clarita Valley had been vaccinated and as of April 9, 37.2% of the Santa Clarita Valley population had been vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health continues to suggest that residents wear masks and even consider two masks to slow the spread of the virus.

“I’ve had my vaccine for about a month now and still wear my mask when I go out,” Dennise Gonzalez, a behavior interventionist in the Santa Clarita Valley, said. 

Even though the vaccine reduces the risk of getting COVID-19, the CDC still recommends you wear your mask in public, especially near those who have not been vaccinated yet. 

“Every time I go to any store, I see at least one person that refuses to wear a mask,” added Gonzalez. “I’ve noticed that the more people get vaccinated, the less careful they’re being.”

CDC graphic showing how an individual can protect themselves from COVID-19. Source: CDC.

With no expiration on the pandemic, the CDC advises continuing to follow the recommendations that are given to protect everyone.

Canyons News reporter Isabel Mendez contributed to this report.

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