Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with others who have been vaccinated without having to wear masks or engage in social distancing, according to the latest guidance from the United States Center for Disease Control.
The CDC announced the new guidance on Monday, following calls for new information as growing numbers of the US population are vaccinated and want to know if there are any changes to the restrictions and safety measures they need to abide by.
Monday’s announcement also advises that vaccinated people can gather with non-vaccinated people in a similar way in some cases, provided that these people belong to low-risk groups for the virus, and that gatherings are limited to a single other household. As the Associated Press reports, an example of this would be vaccinated grandparents visiting their healthy grandchildren.
During a press briefing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called the new guidance a “first step” towards restoring normalcy in how people visit each other and gather together. She also said that more activities would receive the official green light of the CDC as caseloads and deaths continue to decline.
In-Public Guidance Remains The Same:
While the new information constitutes a change to the rules for some private indoor gatherings, the CDC continues to advise that that even vaccinated people continue to observe the same restrictions surrounding their interactions in public. This includes wearing well-fitted masks, avoiding large gatherings, and physically distancing while out in public.
The CDC has also not changed its recommendations on travel, nor has it mentioned anything about going to places like restaurants or bars, even as some states are lifting restrictions on businesses.
The limited new guidance has caused some, including emergency physician and public health professor Dr. Leana Wen to criticize the CDC as being too cautious:
“The CDC is missing a major opportunity to tie vaccination status with reopening guidance. By coming out with such limited guidance, they are missing the window to influence state and national policy.”