CDC Says Fully Vaccinated People Don't Need Masks Indoors

by Madison Vanderberg

CDC says vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks in many indoor spaces

In a move that’s come as a bit of a shock to many, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday stated that fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks indoors in a majority of spaces. Additionally, they eased up even more on masking guidance when outdoors, saying vaccinated people basically never have to wear a mask outdoors unless — as Dr. Anthony Fauci recently put it — “you were going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other.”

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said (via The AP). “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

However, there are caveats. The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters. And the CDC cautions anyone with weakened immune systems to talk to their doctor before ditching the mask.

As of Wednesday, May 12, 2021 — the New York Times reports that only about a third of Americans are fully vaccinated and the new no-mask mandates is basically an attempt to convince people to get vaccinated.

However, this new mask mandate raises a lot of questions, namely: How do we know who is or isn’t vaccinated, and what’s stopping the unvaccinated from taking their mask off anyway? Will it really incentivize anti-vaxxers to get the jab?

Additionally, states, local governments, and private businesses can still enforce mask mandates if they want and citizens will be bound by their local laws and regulations. However, this fracturing of guidelines can cause friction, as happened in certain Texas spots like Austin, where the state relaxed the mask mandate, but the county continued to enforce it. In a viral video taken at a Trader Joes in Texas, a man angrily refused to wear a mask citing the new state rules, clearly challenging the mask mandate set in place by the county and the store itself. I fear the new confusion will only cause more problems for grocery store and restaurant employees as they beg their customers to abide by their local or private business mask policies.

Though the good news is that the vaccines do work and vaccinated people can largely participate in pre-pandemic activities without worry. Or as Walensky put it, “we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

“The science is clear: If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic,” the C.D.C. said in a statement.

A few weeks ago, the CDC stated that vaccinated people could go outside without a mask as long as they weren’t around other people. This left a lot to be interpreted and on Thursday, Fauci says they’ve eased up on those restrictions as well, telling CBS This Morning (via CNN), that “If you are vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask outside. It would be a very unusual situation, if you were going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other, then you wear a mask. But any other time, if you’re vaccinated and you’re outside, put aside your mask. You don’t have to wear it.”

Maybe this will all go well or maybe it’ll be a shit-show, either way — as with everything concerning the pandemic –we’ll see?