CDC: Fully-vaccinated people can go without masks outdoors, except in crowded areas

Leo Carney
Posted at 9:24 AM, Apr 27, 2021

ATLANTA, GA. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that fully-vaccinated Americans can resume some outdoor activities without wearing masks.

During a COVID-19 briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that science shows that those who are fully-vaccinated against the coronavirus can safely attend small outdoor gatherings or dine at an outdoor restaurant without face coverings.

Walensky said the CDC is still recommending that you wear masks while at large outdoor gatherings, like sporting events. She said masks should be worn at those large events due to the "inability to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated people," and to protect those who are not yet vaccinated.

She’s also said CDC still recommends masks for full-vaccinated people while indoors.

In some cases, the CDC says unvaccinated people can drop their face coverings as well. That includes when walking, running or bike outdoors with members of your household, or attending small outdoor gatherings with fully-vaccinated loved ones.

The public health agency released a graphic that outlines the updated guidelines:


Before the updated guidance, the CDC had been advising Americans to wear masks outdoors if they were within 6 feet of each other.

When asked about the decision to relax mask guidance, Walensky pointed to research that shows transmission of the virus mostly occurs indoors.

"There is increasing data suggestion that most transmission occurs indoors," said Walensky.

Walensky added that as more Americans get vaccinated, the CDC will look into lifting more restrictions. She added that there is currently concern about "vaccine uniformity," noting that some areas of the country have a higher percentage of their residents vaccinated.

President Joe Biden spoke about the new guidance from the north lawn of the White House on Tuesday afternoon.

"The bottom line is clear: if you're vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely," Biden said. "This is a great reason to go get vaccinated now."

Biden added that the U.S. has made "stunning" progress on vaccinations, noting that COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations have been falling in recent days. He also encouraged Americans to continue to abide by CDC guidelines in the hopes of rescinding more restrictions before Independence Day.

"Go get the shot. It's never been easier," Biden said. "Don't let up. Keep following the guidelines."

As of Tuesday, the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker showed 37% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, while 53.9% of adults in the country have received at least one dose. And as more people get vaccinated, coronavirus cases are trending downward, though there are parts of the country that are still seeing spikes.

Watch Tuesday's COVID-19 briefing below: