APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV)- Here in Northeast Wisconsin, businesses and individuals alike were monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement on mask guidance. 

“I think it’s time for the pandemic to pretty much be over and people to be able to get on with their lives,” said Lawrence University student Quinn Berglin.

On Friday afternoon, the CDC announced new guidance for mask-wearing. The CDC will pivot to new metrics to determine its mask-wearing guidance giving the green light to large portions of the country to not be required to wear masks when they go indoors.

The CDC will look at the extent to which COVID-19 is straining hospitals to categorize counties into low risk (green), medium risk (yellow), and high risk (red) categories.

Brown County falls into the medium risk (yellow) category. This means only people who are at high risk of severe illness if they catch COVID-19 should wear masks while indoors. The CDC won’t recommend residents of counties that fall in the low risk (green) category to have to mask while indoors.

The CDC reminds people to mask regardless of where they live if they test positive for COVID-19, are exposed to COVID-19, or have COVID-19 symptoms.

Nearly 70 percent of the country lives in counties in the green or yellow category.

“Just because we’re not recommending masking doesn’t mean COVID is gone or that we won’t need masks for future surges,” said Dr. Ashok Rai Prevea Health’s President and CEO.

Businesses in the Fox Valley tell Local Five they are evaluating the new guidance and making adjustments. Although for some, the changes won’t be drastic.

“We don’t believe it’ll change what we do much because we are already mask optional,” said Carl Sanderfoot who is the owner of Josef’s Gyros & Kabobs in downtown Appleton.

Sanderfoot said that his restaurant has gone completely to takeout since the pandemic began. He said the move has been very popular with customers and has actually helped them make it through the pandemic.

With the CDC relaxing its masking recommendations, is that a sign the pandemic is ending?

“It’s a really hard call, there’s still active replication and there’s still other countries that have their healthcare systems overwhelmed so it’s still by definition a pandemic,” said Dr. Rai.

Dr. Rai said he agrees with the CDC’s decision to relax masking recommendations and is also in favor of the metrics the CDC is using to guide their decision-making on masks moving forward.

Winnebago, Outagamie, Calumet, and Waupaca counties are all in the low risk (green) category.