Typically, communications from the nation’s health protection agency have little effect on your barbecue plans. But this isn’t a typical summer. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out new guidance on mask use for fully vaccinated Americans. And if you love backyard barbecues and eating at outdoor restaurants, it’s good news.
New CDC guidance on mask usage for the fully vaccinated
“There are many situations where fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask, particularly if they are outdoors,” says CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. According to the CDC’s new guidance, if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you don’t need a mask to walk, run, hike, and bike. And that’s true whether you’re out alone or with members of your household. The new guidelines also say that you can dine without a mask at restaurants with outdoor seating. What’s more, you may have to knock the rust off your small talk, because the CDC says you don’t have to wear a mask to small outdoor gatherings, whether you’re attending with vaccinated or unvaccinated people.
“Generally, for vaccinated people, outdoor activities without a mask are safe,” says Walensky. For people who haven’t received the vaccine, the CDC recommends wearing a mask to gatherings and restaurants.
The CDC says that for larger outdoor events such as concerts and sporting events, people who have their vaccines should still wear a mask. In addition, they encourage mask use in indoor settings, such as museums and movie theaters. The CDC doesn’t expect those recommendations to change soon.
“We will continue to recommend this until widespread vaccination is achieved,” says Walensky.
Currently, 43 percent of eligible adults have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 29 percent have all their doses. President Biden said the CDC’s latest updates should encourage the 57 percent of American adults who haven’t yet gotten a vaccine.
For those, “especially if you’re younger or think you don’t need it,” Biden says, “this is another great reason to go get vaccinated.”
It’s also a great reason to clean your grill.