Tri-State reacts to latest CDC mask guidelines

Among the changes, those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks for outdoor activities like walking, running, biking or gathering outdoors with a small group.

Video Transcript

- Are following breaking news from the CDC. The agency just releasing new guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19.

- Yeah, among the changes, you no longer need to wear a mask for outdoor activities like walking, running, or biking, or gathering outdoors with a small group.

- "Eyewitness News" reporter, NJ Burkett live on the East Side to break down the rules for us. NJ.

NJ BURKETT: And that's right, Dave, this is going to come as a huge relief to a lot of us who have been wearing masks who are fully vaccinated. The new guidelines are focused on outdoor activities, again, by fully vaccinated people. And what the CDC is saying is that people do not need to wear masks if they are fully vaccinated, unless they are in a crowded outdoor space. So yes, this does open up a world of possibilities for those vaccinated people. And not coincidentally, Dave, it's an incentive for others to get vaccinated. Now you know that's important because the vaccination rate has slowed in some communities across the nation. Now think about this. Less than one third of adult Americans are fully vaccinated. Here in New York City, 2.3 million have been fully vaccinated. Again, out of many more million vaccines that have been given out.

Now the new guidelines will make it easier for vaccinated people to do all kinds of outdoor activities like outdoor dining for example. Indoor activities will remain essentially unchanged. Masks required if you are with other people. Now the mayor and his public health team say that guidance makes sense. There is uncertainty about whether a vaccinated person can contract the virus without symptoms and then infect somebody who's not vaccinated. Now that is why vaccinated people still need to wear masks in some situations.

ROCHELLE WALENSKY: I am optimistic that people will use this information to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and to protect others, and I hope will encourage people to get fully vaccinated.

NJ BURKETT: That's right. As I said, that incentive is a big part of this because again, a huge percentage of this country is not fully vaccinated. Now the mayor and his health commissioner were asked about these new guidelines before they became official. Here's what they had to say earlier today.

BILL DE BLASIO: So I think it's a new approach we can definitely work with. What we do want to focus on intensely is keeping people in the habit of wearing the masks indoors, at least for the next couple of months. We've talked about June as an important turning point moment. I think people should anticipate keeping those masks on indoors, certainly during May and June and then we'll reassess from there.

DAVE CHOKSHI: We should use common sense and keep up masks in situations where there are more people and less ability to maintain distance. The rule of thumb that I say is, any time you're close enough to be breathing in someone else's air, you know, that's a situation where you should strongly consider keeping your mask on.

NJ BURKETT: And Dr. Chokshi making a very important point that ultimately, this is all about common sense when it comes to social distancing and wearing masks. Again, to recap, the CDC has released new guidelines with respect to fully vaccinated people and outdoor activities. Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks unless they are in a crowded outdoor space. And no change with respect to indoor activities, masks still expected in those situations, even for fully vaccinated people. Again, we're going to continue to follow this. Much more.