Fully vaccinated people no longer need masks indoors, unless they are using public transportation for travel, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) latest recommendation.
The updated recommendation allows for fully vaccinated people to stop social distancing and remove their masks in most indoor situations outside of being in buses, trains, airplanes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing Thursday. “We have all longed for this moment where we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
The changes come as the CDC received positive vaccine data over the last week that showed its effectiveness in the general public and effectiveness against virus variants that have circulated in the U.S.
Walensky also said that fully vaccinated people no longer need to worry about a mask in outdoor settings, even if there are crowds. As of this writing, the CDC’s outdoor recommendation goes against L.A. County’s mandates, which still ask fully vaccinated people to wear mask in outdoor crowded settings.
The mask recommendations could always revert back, depending on the spread of COVID-19, Walensky added, but higher vaccinations decrease the chances of that happening.
“I want to be clear that we followed the science here,” Walensky said. “This may serve as incentive for some people to get vaccinated, but that is not the purpose. Our purpose here as a public health agency is to follow the science and to follow where we are in regards to the science and what is safe for individuals to do.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has also set a goal to eliminate mask mandates by June 15, when the state has projected it can start a “full reopening” of the economy without restriction.