CDC: Fully Vaccinated People Can Stop Wearing Masks and Social Distancing, Except Where Legally Required

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume most typical pre-pandemic activities without wearing a face mask or social distancing. However, rules in place by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, including local business and workplace guidances, must still be observed.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

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The CDC defines the timeline for being fully vaccinated as two weeks after receiving the second dose of two-shot vaccines, like the Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or other one-shot vaccines.

Masks will still be required in airports and train stations and while using public transportation like planes, buses and trains when going into, within and out of the United States. People who are fully vaccinated do not need to get tested for COVID before or after traveling within the United States, unless the destination requires it. Nor do fully vaccinated people need to self-quarantine.

The CDC recommends paying close attention when traveling internationally, due to the varying COVID conditions of other countries. People still need to show a negative COVID test result before taking an international flight to the United States. Additionally, the CDC says people should still get tested for COVID 3-5 days after international travel, even if they are fully vaccinated.

The CDC also says if you are around someone who has COVID-19, you don’t need to quarantine or socially distance yourself from others unless you show symptoms of the virus. However, people who work in homeless shelters, correctional and detention facilities should still get tested even if they don’t show symptoms.

People who have health conditions or take medications that weaken their immune systems should talk to their healthcare providers to discuss resuming pre-pandemic activities.

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