Vaccinated Americans don’t have to wear a mask when they dine outdoors and gather with unvaccinated people outside, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance published Tuesday.
According to the new guidelines, fully vaccinated people can unmask for the following:
- Walking, running, hiking or biking outdoors alone or with members of your household
- Attending a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends
- Attending a small outdoor gathering with a mixture of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people
- Dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households
“I hope this message is encouraging for you,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a briefing with health officials. “It shows just how powerful these vaccines are in our efforts to end this pandemic and why we are asking everyone to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated.”
The CDC still recommends that vaccinated people avoid or wear a mask for large or crowded outdoor gatherings. The agency also recommends that everyone continue to wear a mask indoors, such as when at a restaurant, a hair salon, a movie theater or an indoor gathering of multiple households.
Previously, the CDC announced that vaccinated people could gather indoors with others who had gotten the shot and with unvaccinated people from a single household — both without wearing masks.
The new guidance expands the kind of outdoor activities that vaccinated people can do without a mask, specifically adding eating and gathering outside with unvaccinated people to the list.
More than half of U.S. adults — or about 141 million people — have gotten at least one shot of the vaccine, according to data from the CDC. Nearly 30% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated.
This week, the U.S. will distribute about 30 million doses of vaccine to states, tribes and territories, health officials said in a Tuesday briefing.
"We reminded governors that the federal government stands ready to help states put shots in the arms as quickly as possible," White House COVID-19 advisor Andy Slavitt said Tuesday. "We continue to conduct one-on-one sessions with their teams each day, throughout the week."
The Biden administration has secured enough doses of vaccine for all U.S. adults by the end of May.
Federal health officials lifted the pause on use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, which adds to the number of available doses throughout the country. About 10 million J&J shots have been distributed but yet not administered, according to the CDC.
On Tuesday, the CDC also released a chart of recommended activities for both unvaccinated and vaccinated people, including the agency's new guidelines on outdoor activities.