On Tuesday, the Centers For Disease Control released a new set of guidelines that included eased restrictions for US citizens that are now successfully vaccinated with both shots. The highlight of the new guidelines was that Americans who are fully inoculated can now ditch their masks in outdoor settings unless there’s a huge crowd surrounding them.
Also among the guidelines was a pointer stating that those who are unvaccinated can go outside without masks in some situations. The change comes as more than half of U.S. adults have gotten at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and more than a third have been fully vaccinated.
According to the new guidelines, the CDC says that fully vaccinated or not, people do not have to wear masks outdoors when they walk, bike, or run alone or with members of their household. They can also go maskless in small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people. But, Unvaccinated people (defined by the CDC as those who have yet to receive both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson formula) should wear masks at outdoor gatherings that include other unvaccinated people. They also should keep using masks at outdoor restaurants.
“Today, I hope, is a day when we can take another step back to the normalcy of before,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what you can’t do. Today, I am going to tell you some of the things you can do, if you are fully vaccinated.” Walensky said the decision was driven by rising vaccination numbers; declines in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths; and research showing that less than 10% of documented instances of transmission of the virus happened outdoors.
However, everyone should keep wearing masks at crowded outdoor events such as concerts or sporting events. Furthermore, it is recommended that people continue to wear masks at indoor public places, such as hair salons, restaurants, shopping centers, gyms, museums and movie theaters, saying that is still the safer course even for vaccinated people.