The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance on Tuesday explaining when individuals should wear masks to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Individuals who are vaccinated do not need to wear masks when participating in “a small outdoor gathering with people who are vaccinated or unvaccinated,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. Unvaccinated individuals should still wear masks outdoors when around large groups of people that have not been vaccinated, according to public health officials, although they do not need to do so while exercising.
Individuals who are not vaccinated do not need to wear masks when participating in “a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends,” although they do need to do so in a group of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, according to a chart produced by the CDC.
Individuals who have been vaccinated can participate in indoor activities with other individuals who have been vaccinated, according to the guidelines.
Walensky hailed the new guidelines as “a step back to the normalcy of before.”
“Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before,” CDC’s Walensky says. “Over the past year we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do … Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.”
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) April 27, 2021
She did say, however, that risk for indoor activities has not changed for unvaccinated and unmasked individuals. Even those who are vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors, Walensky added. (RELATED: The CDC Proves Incapable Of Putting Together A Coherent Message On COVID-19 Guidelines)
COVID-19 cases and deaths have plummeted nationwide, including in states like Texas that have eliminated their statewide mask mandates. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more than 90% effective at preventing infection and symptomatic and asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 and variants.