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Mask-Free: CDC says fully-vaccinated people can meet without masks

(PHOTO: Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control issued updated COVID-19 guidance for fully-vaccinated Americans on Monday, saying those people can go mask-free together. In other words, those fully-vaccinated may safely gather without masks. 

The updated recommendations also say those who are low-risk can meet mask-free with those fully vaccinated. 

“For example,” the CDC wrote in its announcement, “fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19.”

Mask-free for the fully-vaccinated 

The CDC also cautioned in its announcement about giving up all restrictions too soon. 

“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. 

But the guidance continues to include recommendations about wearing well-fitted masks, practicing social distancing, and avoiding any large gatherings in public. 

The CDC considers someone fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of a specific vaccine. So far, that would account for about 9% of the total US population. 

A first step back to normal: without masks

The announcement from the CDC Monday represents the first time the agency offered guidance toward a mask-free future in the US. 

“This guidance represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities,” the statement read. 

The CDC recommends even fully-vaccinated seek out testing for COVID-19 should they develop any symptoms, and that all continue other preventative steps to help stop the spread, especially in public.

“We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed,” the agency said.

How Utahns are reacting

Despite the new guidance, not everyone getting the vaccine plans to throw away their masks any time soon.  People at the vaccine center at the Mountain America Expo Center had mixed reaction about whether or not they’ll continue to use them in the near future.

On one side, some people were thrilled at the news, saying they can’t wait to get rid of the masks, completely.  One woman told KSL she has had difficulties spending time with the people she loves since the masks make it harder for her to communicate with others.  She looks forward to spending time with friends, very soon.

“It ridiculous to be part of life and not be able to communicate, especially after we’ve had both doses.  We need to take the masks off and move on,” she said.

Others believe the CDC is being “conservative” in their new guidance.  One man said the recommendations remain too strict. 

“I think you ought to have access to everything, like your family and gatherings where other people are immunized.”

However, others say the new recommendations may not be strict enough.  Even though they’ve received both doses of their vaccine, they don’t plan to go mask-free.

“I agree with the CDC guidance, but I’ll be wearing my mask in all social situations for some time to come,” according to one man. 

One woman told KSL, “It keeps me from catching other things and, at my age, I feel like I should wear it.”

Health officials the vaccine doesn’t reach full potency until up to two weeks after the patient gets the second vaccine.  They also say vaccinated people should never assume someone is at a “low risk” for getting the virus.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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