New COVID-19 Mask Guidelines Issued

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Mask photo banner courtesy of the CDC.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance on outdoor mask use for fully vaccinated Americans. Fully vaccinated individuals can now unmask at small outdoor gatherings or when dining outside with friends from multiple households. People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks after they have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC urges unvaccinated people to wear a mask at such gatherings.

The CDC also updated their guidelines for those who are vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or social distancing.
  • Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
  • Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues.
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before and after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel unless required by the destination, and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings.
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure, if asymptomatic.
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible.

For now, the CDC is also recommending that fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in indoor public settings, like wearing a well-fitted mask.
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people from multiple households.
  • Avoid indoor, large-sized, in-person gatherings.
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers.
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.