Fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks outdoors and in most indoor settings, the CDC announced on Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying that fully vaccinated Americans can safely resume activities both indoors and outdoors without the need to wear a mask or social distancing, in gatherings of any size.
Two weeks ago, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask outdoors unless they’re in a crowd or at a live event.
The new announcement comes as a reversal of advisories to mask up even after being vaccinated, and directly contradicts efforts by America’s neighbours in Canada to lock down despite rising adoption of the coronavirus vaccine.
“You can do things you stopped doing before the pandemic,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during the announcement.
The major shift in CDC policy is based on recent real-world studies from Israel and the United States in people who have already received the COVID-19 vaccination, said Walensky.
Despite the relaxation of social distancing and mask use, the mask mandate on public transportation remains in force for everyone, including the vaccinated, including on buses, trains, airplanes and in public transit terminals.
“For travel, we are still asking people to continue wearing their masks,” said Walensky, who added that the policy is currently being reviewed for further changes.
The updated guidance does not apply to those who have yet to receive the vaccine, for whom the advice to mask and social distancing remains in place, nor does it apply to healthcare settings, which follow a separate set of rules.