According to new guidelines released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fully vaccinated people do not require to wear a mask outside, except in crowded settings. At a White House briefing, public health officials said fully vaccinated individuals can unmask while walking, running, hiking or biking outdoors alone or with members of their household.
As reported by USA Today, officials stated that vaccinated people also do not need to wear a mask during small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends, or at gatherings with a mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
The new CDC guidelines also establish that fully vaccinated individuals are not obliged to wear a mask at outdoor restaurants with friends from multiple households.
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Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “If you are fully vaccinated, things are much safer for you than those who are not yet fully vaccinated.”
However, the CDC guidelines continues to recommend masks at indoor public places, such as hair salons, restaurants, shopping centers, museums and movie theaters.
“The risk of infection outside is really minimum. If you’re vaccinated and you’re outside, it’s even less,” White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Facui said at an online event with the Harvard Chan School of Public Health on Monday. He added that the CDC makes recommendations based on data, modeling or “common sense public health measures.”
As of Tuesday, CDC data showed nearly 30% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated and more than 42% have received at least one dose.
The new CDC guidelines were released while some states already had begun to relax outdoor mask requirements. Kentucky residents are no longer required to wear masks at outdoor events with fewer than 1,000 people. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters last week he wanted to lift some restrictions in the state by the end of April.