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Aquarium guests react to relaxed mask requirements

Aquarium guests react to relaxed mask requirements
Posted at 8:20 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 23:39:16-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Corpus Christi couple that was visiting the Texas State Aquarium was thrilled to find out that, as of Friday, one of the city's biggest attractions no longer requires people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear masks.

"Here, they said it’s up to you," Victoria Rivera said. "So you know what, I’m like, I’m safe. I feel safe. My daughter’s safe. My husband’s safe. So I’m safe, so I don’t have to wear it.”

“I haven’t had (the novel coronavirus) yet," her husband Jake Olmeda said. "So I don’t think (wearing masks is) necessary anymore.”

Aquarium leaders made the decision a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it is safe for vaccinated people to go without masks outdoors, indoors, and in crowds.

"The CDC really is the gold standard in our view," Texas State Aquarium President and CEO Tom Schmid said. "Those are the standards we’ve been following all along, and there was no reason to change course now."

Just up North Beach from the aquarium, the USS Lexington also put the new CDC mask guidelines in place Friday.

But people who aren't vaccinated shouldn't get rid of their masks.

The CDC guidelines, and the new policies at the aquarium and the Lex, recommend non-vaccinated people to still wear masks.

Masks will still be required for everyone at other attractions and businesses, which upsets Rivera because of all the other precautions that are in place.

“It pisses me off," she said. "Everyone’s OK. We’re staying apart. We’re doing what we’re supposed to. We’re not getting (COVID-19). It’s been, what, a year already and I haven’t got it."