The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance on Tuesday, April 27, easing outdoor mask use for fully vaccinated individuals.
Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask while engaging in outdoor activities except in certain crowded settings and venues.
“If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, or dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households, the science shows if you are vaccinated, you can do so safely unmasked,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a virtual White House briefing on Tuesday.
The agency said people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
They can also visit other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
However, the agency said that fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in indoor public settings like wearing a well-fitted mask. They should also wear a mask when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people with multiple households or those who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19.
The agency said fully vaccinated grandparents, for example, “can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19.”
“Generally, for vaccinated people, outdoor activities without a mask are safe. However, we continue to recommend masking in crowded outdoor settings and venues, such as packed stadiums and concerts where there is decreased ability to maintain physical distance and where many unvaccinated people may also be present,” Walensky said. “We will continue to recommend this until widespread vaccination is achieved.”
Further guidance said these individuals can resume domestic travel and don’t have to test or self-quarantine after traveling.
Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before leaving the United States unless required by their destination, the CDC said. They also do not need to self-quarantine in the U.S. following travel.
However, those coming from abroad, including U.S. citizens, are still required to have a negative COVID-19 test or documentary of recovery before they board a flight to the U.S.
For fully vaccinated people who do not present COVID-like symptoms after exposure someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, they do not need to quarantine, be restricted from work or be tested.
Exceptions where testing (but not quarantine) is still recommended following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 include: Fully vaccinated residents and employees of non-healthcare congregate settings (e.g., correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters); Fully vaccinated employees of high-density workplaces (e.g., poultry processing plants); or Fully vaccinated dormitory residents (or similar high-density housing settings) at educational institutions
“Testing in these settings is still recommended because they may face high turnover of residents, a higher risk of transmission, and challenges in maintaining recommended physical distancing,” the CDC said. (AJPress)