The Centers for Disease Control announced new guidelines stating that vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks in most indoor settings, The New York Times reports.
The CDC recommendations, which surprised many in government because they recommended vaccinated people continue masking indoors just two weeks earlier, come as about a third of Americans have been fully vaccinated.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,” the CDC said. “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
“We have all longed for this moment,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC. director, said Thursday. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
The CDC recommends people with compromised immune systems talk to their doctors before shedding their masks.
The CDC guidelines also still require people to wear masks at hospitals and other health care settings, congregate facilities like prisons, and at airports and transportation like airplanes, buses, and subways.
But residents still have to abide by their state and local guidelines. Many states still have mask mandates on the books and many retailers are not rushing to end their mask requirements.
8 states lift mask mandates:
Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington all announced an end to their mask mandates after the announcement and more states are expected to follow. Some Republican-led states already ended their mask mandates.
The governors of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Virginia said they are considering new guidelines after the CDC announcement.
Large businesses were also caught off-guard and the biggest retailers have said they are still reviewing the new guidance.