The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made changes to its guidance for fully vaccinated Americans, no longer recommending the use of masks indoor or outdoor, and in crowded places. This was announced by Rochelle Walensky, the Director of the CDC during a recent White House briefing.

 

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” Walensky said. 

The new recommendation only carves out exceptions for hospitals, buses, planes, homeless shelters, and prisons, and is expected to have huge implications for businesses and schools as the country starts to reopen. 

“We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Walensky said.

The CDC’s new recommendation is a complete change from the guidance it issued just a few days back, where it suggested masks should be used in crowded areas and indoors even if people are fully vaccinated. 

Walensky recently faced criticism for the CDC not being fast enough to provide a path back to normalcy for people who are fully immunized. 

While individual states will still have the choice of implementing their own guidelines regarding mask usage, the new guidance is expected to have immediate implications for schools, offices, and public-facing businesses. Mask enforcement for non-vaccinated people, however, will continue to be challenging and could renew the debate on “vaccine passports.”

The CDC began updating its guidance for fully vaccinated American adults last month, first giving the go-ahead for vaccinated people to hang out with others who are also vaccinated in indoor settings without masks and with unvaccinated people who are low-risk. Earlier this month, the CDC also said vaccinated people did not have to wear their masks outdoors, provided they are not in crowds.