Fully vaccinated people, per an updated guidance page from the CDC, can now gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or remaining socially distanced. Fully vaccinated people can also gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household without masks or distancing, unless any of those individuals have an increased risk for severe coronavirus-related illness.
Furthermore, fully vaccinated people can “gather or conduct activities outdoors” without wearing a mask except in “certain crowded setting and venues.” For example, the CDC’s guidance means going to a show or similarly sized outdoor event should still include the use of masks.
In an Associated Press report, Dr. Mike Saag—an infectious disease expert at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama—praised the latest update from the CDC.
“It’s the return of freedom,” Saag said Tuesday. “It’s the return of us being able to do normal activities again. We’re not there yet, but we’re on the exit ramp. And that’s a beautiful thing.”
You’re considered “fully vaccinated,” as the CDC defines it, two weeks after receiving the second dose of either a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or two weeks after a single-shot vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
Fully vaccinated people should continue to wear a mask when visiting indoor public settings, gathering inside with unvaccinated people (including children) from more than one other household, and/or visiting indoors with an unvaccinated person who’s at increased risk for severe illness. Large indoor gatherings, the CDC added, should still be avoided.
As for travel, masks will still be required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transit.
Earlier this month, President Biden celebrated the U.S. having hit his goal of administrating 200 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days of his administration. More than 569,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. since the pandemic began in early 2020.
“To Americans 16 and older, it’s your turn now,” Biden said last week.
And on that note, if you still haven’t kicked off your vaccination process, what the hell are you waiting for?