The Coronavirus

Fully Vaccinated People Can Stop Wearing Masks Indoors And Outdoors, CDC Says

The loosened guidance should make it easier to reopen schools and workplaces. But the CDC recommends that masks still be worn in crowded indoor settings like public transit and hospitals.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
The CDC announced Thursday that fully vaccinated people can safely stop wearing masks indoors. Kyle Faircloth, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, is seen teaching a class at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., in February.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fully vaccinated adults can safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing. The announcement marks a major milestone in the effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

The new guidance was announced Thursday by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. The new protocols call for masks to still be worn in crowded indoor settings including public transit, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

Walensky said the loosened guidance should make it easier to reopen schools and workplaces as more and more people are vaccinated. It’s based, she said, on real world data from people who’ve been vaccinated.

The new indoor masking guidance follows a CDC announcement two weeks ago that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask when they’re outdoors unless they’re in a crowd, such as attending a live performance, sporting event or parade.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.

NPR’s Tamara Keith contributed to this report.

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