U.S. health officials say fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks outdoors anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers, and those who are unvaccinated can go without a face covering outside in some cases, too.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the updated guidance Tuesday in yet another carefully calibrated step on the road back to normal from the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 570,000 people in U.S.
For most of the past year, the CDC had been advising Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within six feet of each other.
The change comes as more than half of U.S. adults have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and more than a third have been fully vaccinated.
“It’s the return of freedom,” said Dr. Michael Saag, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who welcomed the change. “It’s the return of us being able to do normal activities again. We’re not there yet, but we’re on the exit ramp. And that’s a beautiful thing.”