ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Mask up, vaccinated or not, that's the message from the St. Louis Metropolitan Task Force Tuesday, as the Delta variant takes over our region. It's not a mandate at this time, just a recommendation.
In a statement Tuesday, new task force leader Dr. Clay Dunagan said unlike previous surges, the current crisis can be mitigated by masks and vaccination efforts.
"We are strongly encouraging all citizens of our region to return to or continue wearing masks in public places. It's a personal decision all of us can make to use one of the most effective weapons to mitigate the surge we're currently experiencing," Dr. Clay Dunagan explained.
Dunagan's a Washington University infectious disease specialist and part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. He says he's recommending re-masking in light of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in the St. Louis region. With the Delta variant spreading fast, doctors say masking on top of vaccination will add another layer of protection against the even more transmissible variant.
News 4 talked to several St. Louisans who say they're just confused by the back and forth of mandates and recommendations.
"I feel like the rules were always really unclear on when you should and shouldn't wear masks, so it's been different figuring that out," Clay Anderson said.
Anderson says he's fine wearing masks if individual businesses require them, but whether he should wear one in public, he says, is confusing.
"It doesn't really make sense to keep doing the same protocols if you have to get vaccinated also," Anderson continued.
Claudia Spener says she thinks requiring masks is a good idea.
"I think it's a great idea because I think this Delta variant is dangerous, and I think anything we can do to slow down its spread is welcomed. And it's an inexpensive, easy way to do it," Spener explained.
Spener tells News 4 she is vaccinated, but says she still wears her mask in public and will continue following the task force's recommendations. Other people News 4 talked to Tuesday say, they just want clear, decisive rules.
"I'll wear a mask if it's asked of me, I don't have a problem with it," Amy Rabbitt explained.
Although Rabbitt says she's not vaccinated, but plans on getting vaccinated in the future, she says she continues wearing masks if businesses or health officials are requiring it. Paige McWherter says she's vaccinated and wears hers anyways.
"It is confusing, but it's not a big deal. I stay safe and wear my mask inside, I don't have any big concerns yet," McWherter explained.
News 4 spoke with some individuals who were against masking in general, whether a requirement, mandate or recommendation. They did not want to talk on camera.