We’ve had a lot of questions in the past week about whether we will continue to require masks in the library in light of the new CDC guidance. The short answer is yes, for the time being. There are several reasons:
The CDC’s new guidance is based on community burden – our hospitals’ ability to handle a high number of severe COVID cases with available staff and beds – rather than community transmission. It is absolutely true that hospitalizations because of COVID are declining, and thank goodness. However, community transmission is still very high (https://covidactnow.org/us/maine-me/county/knox_county/?s=30001859). We hope it will soon be on the decline as well, but we’re not there yet.
We have a large number of patrons, as well as staff and close family members, who are still at high risk of severe disease from COVID infections. Children under 5 cannot yet be vaccinated, and we are still learning about the long-term effectiveness of vaccines for everyone but especially children. Masks are a simple precaution we can continue to take to mitigate these risks and protect our most vulnerable people, and the past two years have shown us that they are most effective when worn by everyone, not just those at higher risk.
Lastly, the requirement to isolate for a minimum of 5 days if one tests positive for COVID and is symptomatic, is still in place. As many of you are aware, we have a small staff, and recently one of us was out sick with COVID. That meant we were short-staffed for nearly two weeks and down to curbside service only for much of that time. In the interests of keeping the library OPEN and accessible to everyone, we will continue to require masks for the time being.
If wearing a mask while you are in the library is not an option for you, we are happy to provide curbside service if you call us at (207) 354-2453.
Thank you all for your understanding. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Thomaston Public Library