So you’ve heard the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said you don’t have to wear a mask anymore. Well, they only sort of said that.
In new guidelines released Tuesday, the CDC announced that people who have been fully vaccinated can go outside without a mask, except in crowded settings, i.e., if you’re going to a concert at, say, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Just enjoying a picnic at Memorial Park? You don’t have to wear a mask for that.
Before we get any further, here’s a quick reminder of what fully vaccinated actually means: It’s been at least two weeks since your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or at least two weeks since your Johnson & Johnson vaccination.
Okay, now what else can fully vaxed folks do sans mask? You can gather indoors—in a private setting, like a house—with other people who’ve been fully vaccinated. You can also gather indoors with unvaccinated people, just from one other household. Basically, Aunt Tina can visit with the kids, but if Aunt Karen from Dallas wants to come, too, tell her maybe next time. Of course, if anyone is high risk, you should wear a mask and social distance.
Another big development: If you’ve been exposed to someone who currently has Covid-19, but you’ve been fully vaccinated, you do not need to isolate or get tested unless you begin to have symptoms.
The CDC has also provided guidance on what you should keep doing with a mask (or two) firmly on. Keep it on indoors in public settings, like grocery stores and the mall, and gatherings with unvaccinated people from multiple households. Oh hi, Aunt Karen. You should also still avoid large indoor settings.
You’ll also be required to wear a mask while traveling. For more on CDC guidelines for vaccinated travelers, click here.
If you’re wondering what other activities you can do now, the CDC has a handy chart for indoor and outdoor activities that are safer for fully vaccinated folks. Here are a few highlights:
“Walk, run, or bike outdoors with members of your household” without a mask
“Dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households”
“Attend a crowded, outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event” with a mask
“Go to an uncrowded, indoor shopping center or museum” with a mask
“Go to an indoor movie theater” with a mask
“Participate in an indoor, high intensity exercise class” with a mask
“Sing in an indoor chorus” with a mask