Masks not needed even indoors for fully vaccinated, CDC says

Coronavirus

A visitor wearing a mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19 passes a sign requiring masks, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in San Antonio. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared masks or face coverings must be worn in public across most of the state as local officials across the state say their hospitals are becoming increasingly stretched and are in danger of becoming overrun as cases of the coronavirus surge. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks outside and inside in most places, according to a person briefed on the announcement.

“Today the CDC is updating our guidance for fully-vaccinated people. Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or fully distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get to some sense of normalcy,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press conference at the White House.

The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but eases restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools.

It will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.

The eased guidance comes two weeks after the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement ahead of the official release. The White House did not comment on the matter.

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