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CDC sets new mask guidelines: those fully vaccinated can stop wearing masks outdoors, unless in crowded settings

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines on outdoor mask-wearing, saying that those fully-vaccinated may engage in outdoor activities, including running, hiking, and walking—without a mask—if they are alone or with members of their household. Attending small outdoor gatherings and dining outdoors without a mask are also considered safe, federal officials said. It’s been long established that outdoor contact poses significantly less risk in the spread of COVID-19 than indoors. 

The guidelines also state, however, that in situations where crowds are likely and social distancing presents a challenge, masking, even if fully vaccinated, is still recommended. 

The updated guidance comes as nearly half of the country reports being vaccinated with at least the first dose. However public health experts also ask for caution, as vaccination rates have slowed, and some areas of the country continue to see surges of the virus and its new variants.  

Fully vaccinated people can attend small-group outdoor activities without masks, CDC says


Editorial credit: Elisabeth Aardema /