CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Ditch Masks and Social Distancing in Most Cases

But individual states, cities and businesses may have their own guidelines — especially if there are non-vaccinated people around

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that fully vaccinated people can ditch their masks — and social distancing — in most indoor and outdoor locations.

“UPDATE: If you are fully vaccinated against #COVID19, you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, incl. local business and workplace guidance,” tweeted the agency.

The tweet linked to an information sheet that clarified what “fully vaccinated” looks like. For people who opted for a two-shot vaccine, it’s two weeks after the second dose. For anyone getting a single-shot vaccine, it’s two weeks after the single dose.

Exposure to someone with COVID-19 no longer requires quarantining or testing, either, according to the guidelines.

The update comes as authorities report that roughly one third of Americans, or 117 million people, have been fully vaccinated. Another 37 million have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Masks have been a hot topic since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, especially as individual jurisdictions moved at different paces to implement mandates for wearing them in businesses or outside.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson went so far this month as to compare requiring kids to wear masks to “child abuse” on the part of their caretakers.

Slowly but surely, some elements of American life have returned to normal in recent weeks. Broadway is opening again in September, for instance, and indoor dining has resumed in major cities, often with limits on capacity.


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