The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is easing indoor mask-wearing guidance for Americans who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
On Thursday afternoon, May 13, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance at a White House briefing, saying that anyone who has received both shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot can safely stop wearing masks indoors, except under some circumstances.
The new guidance calls for continued mask-wearing in more crowded indoor spaces such as on mass transportation, hospitals, prisons, or homeless shelters, but eases restrictions on workplaces, schools, and similar locations.
Additionally, the new guidance recommends that fully vaccinated people no longer be required to wear masks while outdoors, even when in crowds.
Walensky said that fully vaccinated people can participate in indoor or outdoor activities without a mask or social distancing, saying that “if you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing.”
The announcement from the CDC comes just ahead of the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parade season, the date that President Joe Biden previously said he hopes to have enough Americans vaccinated to begin holding events safely.
As of May 13, approximately 154 million eligible Americans, nearly half the population, have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while more than 115 million are fully vaccinated. In recent weeks, the rate of Americans getting vaccinated has slowed, but is expected to see a surge following the CDC’s approval of the use of the vaccines in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15.
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