Tired of sucking down a mouthful of cotton with every breath when you go out for a jog? If you’re vaxxed up, those days are over, if you want them to be.
The CDC announced today that people who are vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask outdoors in most situations. Later on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California would “align” its mask rules with those of the federal government, giving Californians the green light to take maskless walks.
According to the new CDC guidelines, vaccinated and unvaccinated people may now run, walk, or cycle outdoors unmasked with members of their own household. Vaccinated people may also go to small, outdoor gatherings with other vaccinated and unvaccinated people — including outdoor dining restaurants — without wearing a mask. Everyone will still be required to wear a mask at large outdoor gatherings, including concerts and sports events, or in other crowded areas.
Unvaccinated people must still wear masks when gathering outdoors with other unvaccinated people, or at an outdoor dining restaurant.
The CDC also says that it is safe for fully vaccinated people to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people, sans masks and social distancing. For indoor gatherings in public space, like movie theaters, museums, and stores, masks are still required for all.
The updated guidelines come in light of data showing that it is very difficult to spread COVID-19 outdoors. New case counts have remained relatively flat across the country since March, as the U.S. continues to ramp up vaccine distribution.
California has been particularly successful at curbing the virus following its deadly winter surge. The state now has the lowest positivity rate in the country, and has given at least one dose of vaccine to nearly 50 percent of the population age 16 and older. In San Francisco, nearly 70 percent of the population 16 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 45 percent of people considered fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, around the world, new coronavirus cases are at their highest point since the beginning of the pandemic, with the situation particularly dire in India. The U.S. and other wealthy countries are under growing pressure to send vaccines to the countries most in need.