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Indoor Face Masks Are Optional — Here’s What That Means For Vaccinated People

Face mask guidelines are changing on a daily basis. Here’s a breakdown of what that means when you’re indoors.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) are confusing. With new updates released every couple of days, it’s difficult to keep track of the rules you should follow, which vary depending on whether or not you are vaccinated, the state and the business you’re entering.

According to the latest CDC guidelines, if you’re vaccinated, you no longer have to wear face masks. Well, almost.

face mask
Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino via Unsplash

Infectious disease experts emphasize on the importance of every person’s individual level of risk and comfort, and the state of infections in their community. If a person is young, vaccinated, with no underlying health conditions and living in an area with a low level of transmission, they’re better off than someone who is high risk and living in a place where there’s a lot of COVID-19 infections.

Here are some guidelines for mask wearing indoors. If you’re unvaccinated, it’s best to stick to your mask for a little while longer:

Gyms

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Photo by Humphrey Muleba

Once you’ve been vaccinated, it’s very unlikely for you to spread COVID-19. Despite that, whether you wear a mask depends on the gym itself. In order to keep employees and customers safe, and to avoid problems when verifying vaccination records, some gyms might ask people to wear their masks while indoors.

Indoor restaurants and bars

Photo by rawpixel.com

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While you should still be polite when entering and leaving a restaurant (perhaps even when going to the bathroom), you should be good without your mask. When it comes to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people, they should still be careful since they’re exposed to larger risks and there’s no way of knowing if their servers, neighbors, etc., are vaccinated.

Work

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As is the case with most situations indoors, what matters is your coworkers. If they’re all vaccinated, there is no problem. Still, managing this is difficult and requires a lot of planning and sincerity from employers and employees. Some experts suggest separating employees depending on their vaccination status, allowing those who’ve been vaccinated to return to work at the office and those who haven’t been vaccinated to stay working from home.

Parties

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Photo courtesy of Cannaclusive/Flickr

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Whether the gathering is large or small, if you’re vaccinated, you should be fine. Unvaccinated people who present a risk to others should wear their masks in case the gathering is large. If the majority of people are vaccinated, there should be much lower risk for the party to dissolve into a super spreader event.

Venues

Photo via pxhere.com

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Despite the fact that event venues, such as theaters, result in people standing in the same place for long periods of time, vaccinated people should be fine to stay without masks. Still, you should follow your state’s guidelines. The bigger issue here is concerts, since people tend to sing and stand or sit packed together. Wearing no mask is okay, especially if you’re exposed to low risks and you’re young and vaccinated. Even if vaccinated people get COVID-19, the odds of developing a serious infection are very low.

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