(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Atlanta, GA (AP / 77WABC) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.
The new guidance was announced Thursday at the White House. It will still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but could ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools.
President Biden addressed the new easing of restrictions when it comes to Mask during a press conference in the Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon.
“To much anger, to much anger, to much bitterness when it comes to this politicized issue wearing masks. Let’s put it to rest. Let’s remember: we’re all Americans and we are all in this together. If you are fully vaccinated and can take your mask off.”
The CDC will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, says, “We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
The White House put out a message on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, saying “Big news from the CDC: If you’re fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask – indoors or outdoors, in most settings. We’ve gotten this far. Whether you choose to get vaccinated or wear a mask, please protect yourself until we get to the finish line.”
Big news from the CDC: If you’re fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask – indoors or outdoors, in most settings.
We’ve gotten this far. Whether you choose to get vaccinated or wear a mask, please protect yourself until we get to the finish line. pic.twitter.com/XI4yPmhWaD
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 13, 2021
The CDC will also no longer recommend that fully-vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.
Walensky announced the new guidance on Thursday afternoon at a White House briefing, saying the long-awaited change is thanks to millions of people getting vaccinated — and based on the latest science about how well those shots are working.
The easing guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those fully vaccinated and those who are not.
President Joe Biden was set to highlight the new guidance Thursday afternoon in a speech from the White House.
The new guidance comes as the aggressive U.S. vaccination campaign begins to pay off. U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began.