The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and President Joe Biden announced Tuesday they are relaxing mask guidelines for fully vaccinated people who are outdoors – saying they no longer need to wear them unless they are in large crowds or at big events like concerts.
“Starting today if you’re fully vaccinated and outdoors and not in a crowd, you no longer need to wear a mask,” Biden said.
The CDC also said fully vaccinated people wearing masks can safely attend things like indoor worship services, workout classes, and restaurants.
“The one thing you can gather from everything I’ve said is that it’s very important to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the chief medical advisor to the president.
The CDC considers individuals to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“If you are fully vaccinated things are much safer for you than those who are not yet fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director.
Watch President Biden’s COVID press conference below:
New data from the CDC shows nearly 8 percent of those who got the first shot are skipping the second dose, and the daily number of people getting vaccinated is declining despite the vaccines being available to all Americans over the age of 16.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is back in play after the CDC decided its benefits outweigh the risk. According to a new ABC News poll, however, 73 percent of Americans not yet vaccinated say they won’t get the shot.
“The COVID-19 vaccines have been through many transparent rigorous processes that continue to prove they are safe and effective,” Walensky said during Tuesday’s press conference.
In an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) is offering $100 savings bonds to people aged 16 to 35 who get vaccinated.
“I’m telling you, it’s time, West Virginia, to shut this thing down,” said Justice.
The CDC also says childrens’ summer camps can re-open, but since the vaccine is not yet approved for individuals under the age of 16, they say mask-wearing and social distancing will still be necessary.