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The CDC Updated Face Mask Guidelines — Here’s What That Means For You

The CDC claims it’s safe for vaccinated people to stop wearing masks outdoors. Here’s what you should know.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new face mask guidelines that specifically address fully vaccinated people. According to health experts, these people no longer need to wear masks in small outdoor gatherings and a variety of other situations.

Updated face mask guidelines include not having to wear face masks when dining outdoors with friends (unvaccinated people should still wear their masks) and when gathering indoors with other people who have also been vaccinated.

In order to be considered “fully vaccinated,” two weeks must have passed after you’ve had your Johnson & Johnson single shot or the second dose of the Pzifer and Moderna vaccines.

outdoor gathering
Photo by Ella de Kross via Unsplash

The CDC provided clarification for a variety of situations. They said that vaccinated people were able to do different outdoor activities like working out with members of their household or attending a small gathering with other vaccinated family members and friends, all without having to wear a face mask.

If unvaccinated people attend, they can remain without face masks as long as they comply with social distancing measures.

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Vaccinated people can also dine outside with friends and family of other households.

Things get murky outdoors when there’s large amount of people involved. The CDC still requires the use of masks for “crowded, outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event.” According to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, this is due to the amount of people you’ll likely encounter and interact with.

Photo by Helena Lopes via Pexels

“This is asking people to use common sense. A few people from different households at an outdoor barbecue poses a much lower risk than a few hundred people at a packed concert,” said Wen.

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For the most part, outdoor activities are safe. Still, factors like community transmission; length of the gathering; and amount of unvaccinated people in attendance; should be kept in mind, since they can increase risk.

Now that we’re over a year into the pandemic with the majority of people being able to get their shot, it’s important to remind ourselves of all that we’ve learned over the previous months. Activities where there’s shouting, singing or heavy breathing are riskier. So are large gatherings.

As long as you use common sense and slowly ease into normalcy you’ll do your part in keeping yourself and others safe.


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