Fully vaccinated individuals in America can now forgo wearing masks outdoors, except in crowded settings. This comes under the new mask guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)on Tuesday.
Public health officials revealed the new guidelines during a White House briefing. According to the officials, fully vaccinated people can choose to not use their masks while doing outdoor activities like walking, running, biking and hiking. They can do so alone or with people in their household.
Vaccinated individuals also don’t need to wear their face masks when attending small outdoor gatherings. This only applies if it’s with fully vaccinated family and friends or gatherings with both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
They also don’t need to wear masks at outdoor restaurants if they’re with friends from other households.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC’s director, says this is a “step back to the normalcy” of what people had before the pandemic. She also said things have become much safer for fully vaccinated people.
However, the CDC still recommends vaccinated individuals wear masks while staying in an indoor public setting. It also recommends mask-wearing for outdoor public settings, especially crowded ones, and venues that require it.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks following their second dose of either one of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or following getting their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
These new CDC mask guidelines revealed a slight shift in what message public health officials want to give the public. It went from promoting restrictions to encouraging people to receive vaccinations by showing them its tangible benefits.