Fully vaccinated Americans will no longer be required to wear a mask outdoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday, marking the latest in an evolving set of health guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a news conference. "There are many situations where fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask, particularly if they are outdoors."
"I am optimistic people will use this information to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and protect others," she added.
Walensky said all Americans, regardless of their vaccination status, should still wear masks when in crowded outdoor settings like sports games as well as in several indoor situations.
Masks are also still required on all forms of public transportation like planes and in airports, regardless of someone's vaccination status, per an executive order President Joe Biden signed in January.
"Until more people are vaccinated, and while still have more than 50,000 cases a day, mask use indoors will provide extra protection," Walensky said. "The more people who are vaccinated, the more steps we can take toward spending time with people we love doing the things we love to enjoy."
So far, about 54% of Americans 18 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 37% are considered fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. In total, more than 230 million doses have been administered.
The new guidance comes weeks after the CDC said fully-vaccinated people could travel at low risk to themselves, and without the need to quarantine upon returning home for both international and domestic trips. International travelers must still get tested within three days of boarding a flight to the U.S.
The agency has also said vaccinated people can get together indoors with other vaccinated people without the need to wear a mask, and those who received the jab are not required to quarantine if they come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Several countries and destinations have turned to the vaccine rollout as a way to open to inoculated travelers or ease restrictions for those who got the jab, including Belize, Grenada, Greece, Croatia, and Iceland. Officials in the European Union have also said the bloc will likely welcome fully-vaccinated American tourists back by this summer.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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