Do I still need to wear a mask? Your questions answered after CDC update
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The CDC’s Thursday announcement that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can mostly ditch their masks and stop social distancing was a major step toward America returning to pre-pandemic life.
The new federal guidance advises people who are inoculated against COVID-19 to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
But there are some exceptions. And New York still hasn’t changed its own rules. Here’s when you still need to wear a mask after the CDC update:
Do I still need to wear a mask inside?
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people “can resume activities that you did before the pandemic.”
That means the agency considers it safe go maskless inside a bar or restaurant, at the barber shop or hair salon, in a mall or museum or at a movie theater and a house of worship.
The CDC says fully vaccinated folks can also safely attend a small, indoor gathering, even if their are unvaccinated people there.
The recommendations also remove the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
However, the guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
And the CDC notes that being able to do indoor activities without a face-covering is still dependent on state and local laws and rules established by individual businesses or workplaces.
In New York, for instance, the indoor mask mandate was still in place — even for fully vaccinated people — as of Thursday evening while health experts review the new federal guidance.
People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors.
Do I still need to wear a mask outside?
The CDC says it’s safe to walk, run or bike outdoors without a mask on for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Both groups can also attend small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends with no face coverings.
People who aren’t inoculated, however, are still advised to wear a mask if gathering outside with a group of both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people, according to the federal health agency.
Fully vaccinated people can safely go maskless anytime outdoors, as far as the agency is concerened — including while dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends or while at a crowded, outdoor event like a concert, parade or sports event.
Unvaccinated people also need to mask up while dining outdoors or at crowded events outside.
What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”?
Being “fully vaccinated” means that at least two weeks have passed since a person completed their vaccine series.
This means two weeks after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
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