The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on May 13 that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can stop wearing masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated, can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Walensky further said.
According to Walensky, the updated public health guidance was based on recent studies from the United States and Israel that suggested that fully vaccinated people are not likely to carry and spread the virus.
“The science demonstrates that if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected,” Walensky said
However, Walensky said that everyone — fully vaccinated or not — will still need to wear masks when on a public transportation, such as airplanes, buses, and trains.
The new guidance also does not apply to healthcare settings because they have their own separate guidance.
CDC also said that federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, including local business and workplace guidance, may still require fully vaccinated people to wear masks.
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, President Joe Biden described the updated guidance as “a great milestone.”
“We’ve gotten this far. Please protect yourself until you get to the finish line. Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do,” Biden said.
CDC generally defines “fully vaccinated” as two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
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