The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on April 27 that it would be lifting some mask restrictions for segments of the population. The government agency said that fully vaccinated Americans can gather in small groups with vaccinated and unvaccinated people outside. Those who are unvaccinated need to wear masks even when meeting outdoors. The CDC had been advising citizens to wear a mask and to remain 6 feet apart from each other for the past year.
“Today, I hope, is a day when we can take another step back to the normalcy of before. Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what you can’t do. Today, I am going to tell you some of the things you can do, if you are fully vaccinated,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to The Associated Press.
“If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, or dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households, the science shows if you are vaccinated, you can do so safely unmasked,” Dr. Walensky said in a virtual White house briefing.
Over 570,000 people in U.S. have died from COVID-19. Walensky said the decision to lift some restrictions was driven by rising vaccination numbers and declining numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The research also showed that less than 10% of documented instances of transmission of the virus happened outdoors.
The CDC still recommends that unvaccinated people wear masks at outdoor gatherings and they should keep using masks at outdoor restaurants as well.
The loosening of the mask restrictions, however, doesn’t apply to crowded outdoor events and concerts and the agency encourages everyone to keep wearing their masks in these situations. The CDC also encourages people whether vaccinated or not to keep wearing facial coverings indoors, especially among large crowds.