CDC Officials Loosen Mask Guidelines


Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks when outside alone, with members of their household, or when attending small outdoor gatherings.

Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) no longer need to wear masks when outside alone, with members of their household, or when attending small outdoor gatherings, according to new CDC guidelines released Tuesday.

When choosing activities and debating whether to wear a mask, the guidelines said Americans should consider how COVID-19 is spreading in their community, the number of people they will be around, and whether the activity will be outside. Outdoor visits and activities are still safer than indoor options, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, although the guidelines said fully vaccinated individuals can safely participate in some indoor events.

The CDC maintained its earlier recommendations for some safety measures, however, such as advising vaccinated adults to continue wearing masks and staying socially distanced when at outdoor performances or sporting events, when visiting indoor shopping malls or movie theaters, and anywhere where the vaccination and health status of nearby people is unknown. Regardless of vaccination status, the guidelines said people should still avoid large gatherings, crowds, and spaces that are not well ventilated.

The guidelines listed a wide range of activities and where vaccinated and unvaccinated people would be safest, less safe, and least safe. Although all activities were deemed “safest” for fully vaccinated people with masks, unvaccinated people with masks were only considered “less safe” or “least safe.”

Some indoor, less safe activities for unvaccinated people with a mask included visiting a barber or hair salon; going to an uncrowded, indoor shopping center or museum; riding public transport with limited occupancy; and attending a small, indoor gathering of people from multiple households. Some activities deemed “least safe” for unvaccinated people—even with mask-wearing—include going to an indoor movie theater; attending a full-capacity worship service; singing in an indoor chorus; eating at an indoor restaurant or bar; and participating in an indoor, high intensity exercise class.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can walk, run, or bike outdoors with members of their household or attend small, outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends without a mask, according to the guidelines. Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks to attend a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated or unvaccinated people, although unvaccinated people should still wear masks at these events. Vaccinated people also do not need to wear a mask when dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households, although the guidelines said they should wear a mask when attending a crowded, outdoor event.


CDC; Choosing Safer Activities. April 27, 2021. Accessed April 27, 2021.

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