On Thursday May 13th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines that lifted the wearing of mask requirements for individuals that are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. On Friday afternoon, May 14th Governor Cooper made changes to the COVID-19 prevention requirements for North Carolina that lifted most restrictions previously in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Governor Cooper’s May 14th, 2021 Executive Order No. 215 can be accessed by going to this the link: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO215-Lifting-COVID-19-Restrictions_0.pdf.
The current Executive Order applies to individuals that are fully vaccinated. Individuals that are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear face coverings in most public and private settings and are no longer required to exercise physical distancing requirements. In addition, capacity restrictions have been lifted. It also permits private business to continue any restrictions it feels may be necessary. The easing of these restrictions does not apply to health care settings like Givens Estates Health Center (GEHC) and Wood Assisted Living Center (WAL) where all health and safety protocols will remain in place.
As a result of these changes Givens Estates no longer requires the wearing of masks or physical distancing by residents or guests that are fully vaccinated in the residential living portions of campus. These changes only apply to residential living areas of campus and not GEHC or WAL where the wearing of masks, physical distancing and other guidelines continue. In addition, all residential living group size capacity restrictions are lifted, and we can begin to resume the use of dining and gathering spaces at full capacity in the coming days. In addition, we are now welcoming resident guests to the dining venues, use the guest rooms and public areas around campus.
The CDC recommends that individuals not vaccinated continue to wear a mask and practice physical distancing. Since it is impossible for Givens Estates to monitor vaccination status of residents’ guests, it is incumbent upon residents to know the vaccination status of your guests and to ensure that your unvaccinated guests continue to wear masks and physically distance.
You will continue to see the use of masks on the Givens Estates campus by team members as we evaluate the best way to manage this more complex issue. Some residents may continue to wear a mask that do not yet feel comfortable not wearing a mask or are not eligible for a vaccination due to certain medical conditions. I ask that you respect everyone’s decision regarding vaccination and the wearing of a mask and to not make assumptions about their personal situation. We have lived with these prevention strategies for the past year, and it will take time to wind out of these requirements in total.
This is good news that we have been patiently waiting for over the past months since our vaccinations. We are fortunate that more than 98% of residents and 70% of team members are fully vaccinated which affords excellent protection from becoming ill with COVID-19. We will continue to monitor conditions on campus closely as restrictions are eased and will respond as conditions change.
Thank you for your continued support and patience.
John C. Cowan, Jr.