Fully Vaccinated Americans no longer need masks in small gatherings, exercising or dining, according to the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The change in guidance comes as COVID-19 cases decrease and vaccinations increase in the U.S.

“Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a White House briefing, Tuesday. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do, what they should not do. Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.”

The mask guidance for small gatherings allows fully vaccinated people to be around not only other vaccinated people, but a mix of unvaccinated people, as well.

The mask guidance, however, does not change for indoor activities or being in big crowds as Walensky noted they still “provide extra protection.”

On April 5, the CDC had given guidance for fully vaccinated people to travel and in California, larger capacities are allowed for activities when individuals are fully vaccinated.

California stadiums and arenas may increase their attendance up to 67% capacity if they mandate full vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests to enter.

In the White House briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci also addressed the vaccine efficacy against new COVID-19 variants, revealing that mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna’s have been effective in fighitng the Brazilian variant that has “assumed dominance” in the U.S.

Fauci also noted that it is likely the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is effective against the Brazilian variant, but more data is needed before making a conclusion.

“This is good news since this is the dominant variant,” Fauci said.

Although not dominant in the U.S., Fauci also revealed that in a small study, Pfizer was found to be 100% effective against the South African COVID-19 variant, while Johnson & Johnson was 64% effective in its own study.

“The one thing you can gather from everything I’ve said, is that it’s very important to get vaccinated,” Fauci said. “Even when you’re talking about variants, indoors, outdoors—get vaccinated and you will certainly have a degree of protection.”

LA Weekly