The incidences of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated individuals are increasing across the United States, prompting summer resort communities, large businesses and large counties to reverse course on loosening pandemic restrictions – and to support on pause on return to normal.
So many “breakthrough” infections have occurred in people vaccinated after the July 4 weekend celebrations in Provincetown, Mass., That local health officials have subsequently issued an advisory urging the public to mask themselves and to practice social distancing again. These and other safety measures were put in place at the start of the pandemic to slow the spread of the coronavirus before vaccines were available.
As of July 16, Provincetown had reported 132 positive cases of COVID-19 to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Of those cases, 89 involved residents of Massachusetts and 43 involved visitors to the Cape Cod tourist destination, popular among the LGBTQ + community. As of July 20, there were 256 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, all linked to the Provincetown cluster of July 4.
“People are so close”
Donald Edwards, owner of Governor Bradford, a restaurant and nightclub in Provincetown that hosts popular karaoke shows, said the recent outbreak has made him go back after it fully reopens for the summer season.
“We started cutting back a bit of lunchtime seating again,” he told CBS News.
And anyone who wants to attend his karaoke shows – usually a hot ticket in town – must now provide proof of vaccination. The only proof he will accept is that of an individual, or a photograph thereof, along with photo identification.
“With the club at night, the people are so close you have to demand it,” Edwards said.
Even with these restrictions, he is worried about the spread of the virus this summer.
“I’m doing 100 people a day compared to 500 a day two weeks ago,” he said. “Now my main worry is that people who come to dinner and claim to be vaccinated, but they are not.”
He noted that other facilities in Provincetown also require proof of vaccination.
“Three days ago I think all clubs in town are asking for vaccination cards,” he said.
Remember the days of eating out only?
Local 186, another bar and restaurant in Provincetown, is also reinstating safety protocols abandoned after the recent outbreak, according to manager Oriana Conklin.
The attached burger even closed for four days this week after two employees tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
“We closed the restaurant and took everyone for rapid tests, and remained closed until Thursday when we reopened,” she said.
Conklin also re-implemented mandatory face masks for staff members, who were briefly exempted from covering their faces at work after taking their vaccinations.
“We are all now wearing masks and will continue to do regular testing,” she said.
Due to the season, Conklin is also open when the indoor section of the restaurant closes and can only accommodate outside customers.
“I definitely plan to go back to eating al fresco only if that’s what the numbers show,” she said.
Sites like Local 186 do most of their business during the summer months and these setbacks are worrying for their finances. But Conklin said she thinks more about her employees who test positive for COVID-19 and then have to stay on the sidelines until they recover.
“I’m more worried about our employees because there aren’t a lot of job-related benefits if you get sick with COVID, and these are very lucrative weeks for those who miss,” she said. .
Guests are also encouraged to dress up, but do not need to provide proof of vaccination to enter the facility.
The neighboring island of Nantucket, also a popular summer destination, is struggling with its own outbreak of COVID-19. Accordingly, all residents and visitors are advised to wear masks indoors and in public, even if they are vaccinated.
“The increased virulence of the Delta variant, and its great ability to infect even those vaccinated in some cases, means that masking and distancing are strongly recommended at this time,” the Department of Health and Human Services said. ‘State in a press release. He also cited the “breakthrough ability” of the Delta variant in individuals who are vaccinated or who have had COVID and have acquired immunity through natural infection.
Back to the office? Not so fast
Big companies are also holding back reopening as the more infectious Delta variant threatens to derail hopes of a recovery.
said he would postpone employee obligation , according to reports. The tech giant is moving its return to office deadline to October at the earliest from September, Bloomberg reported, citing people at Apple familiar with the matter. Apple did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment.
Masks are also required again indoors in Los Angeles County, California. The warrant went into effect again last week, with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health citing a seven-fold increase in the number of new cases since the county reopened on June 15, and will remain so until rates of. transmission decrease again.
“Indoor masking must become normal practice again for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, so that we can stop the trends and level of transmission that we are currently seeing,” said Muntu Davis, head of health at the Los Angeles County, in a statement.
Even White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci suggested this week that vaccinated people wear masks indoors.
“If you want to go the extra mile on safety even though you are vaccinated when you are indoors, especially in crowded places, you may want to consider wearing a mask,” Fauci told CNBC.