CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance Thursday, a large step towards a return to normal and an indication of the benefits of vaccination.
Fully vaccinated people are still advised to wear masks in crowded spaces like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but removes the need to wear masks or distance from others in the workplace or at school.
The CDC also says fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outdoors in any setting, including crowded spaces like concerts or sporting events.
Dr. Walensky said the long-awaited change is thanks to the more than 110 million Americans who are now fully vaccinated, and based on the latest science demonstrating that the vaccines are highly effective at preventing people from getting sick and transmitting the virus.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities – large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
The update comes about two weeks after the CDC announced it was safe for fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most outdoor settings.
People are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because it takes time for the immune system to respond to the shot.
While many state and local governments have followed CDC guidelines closely, governors and local leaders may choose to maintain stricter rules.