'we have all longed for this moment'
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has unveiled a major update to its mask guidance, hailing it as a "powerful moment."
The CDC said Thursday that those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 now largely no longer need to wear a mask or practice social distancing indoors, in addition to mostly being able to stop wearing masks outdoors as previously announced.
"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. "If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic."
This is with the exception of where masks are "required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance," the CDC said. Masks are also still required during travel, CNN notes, and the CDC is advising they still be worn when going to doctors, hospitals, or long-term care facilities, as well as in prisons, jails, or homeless shelters, according to The New York Times.
Walensky also noted that immunocompromised people should talk to their doctor before they stop wearing a mask, and anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should resume wearing one. Unvaccinated people remain at risk and should still wear their mask, Walensky added. But "we have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy," Walensky said, and for vaccinated people, "that moment has come."