Fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most places, CDC says
Federal health officials said Tuesday that fully vaccinated people can go without masks outdoors when walking, jogging or biking, or dining with friends at outdoor restaurants — a milestone development for tens of millions of pandemic-weary Americans after more than a year of masking up and locking down.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things you have stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
Unvaccinated people or partially vaccinated people are still asked to wear masks in almost all indoor settings and most outdoor settings when interacting with people from outside of their household who may not be vaccinated. (Members of a single household of unvaccinated people can be maskless indoors if everyone else is vaccinated, and be maskless at a small outdoor gathering with other unvaccinated people.)
A person is considered fully vaccinated once two weeks have passed since the final dose.
President Biden touted the relaxation of restrictions as another reason for people to get vaccinated, urging them to move forward not just to protect themselves and those around them, but so they can live more normally, by “getting together with friends, going to the park for a picnic without needing a mask.”
Biden had set July 4 as a target for when people could get together for backyard picnics with a sense of normalcy, and both the new mask guidance and his remarks were geared to encouraging people to continue getting the shots.
After the C.D.C.’s new guidance was announced, at least seven states led by Democrats began to lift mask mandates. Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Pennsylvania began to adjust their mask wearing guidance.
Calling it an “exciting and powerful moment,” Walensky said the decision was made based on numerous reports and literature that have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
“We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” she said.
Masks will still be required for everyone traveling on public transportation, including buses, trains, airports and stations.