Fully Vaccinated People Don’t Need Masks Outside in Some Settings

As summer approaches, learn when it’s okay to go mask-free outdoors.

couple running outside

Medically reviewed in April 2021

Updated on April 27, 2021

Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear a mask outdoors in certain settings and during some activities, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

After recommending for more than a year that everyone older than 2-years old wear masks in public places, the CDC says those who are fully vaccinated can go mask-free outside while they’re walking, running, hiking or biking—either alone or with members of their household.

People who are fully vaccinated can also take off their masks during small outdoor group gatherings.

By definition, people are fully vaccinated if:

  • It’s been at least two weeks since they got their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

OR

  • It’s been at least two weeks since they got the Johnson & Johnson shot.

The move is a much-needed glimmer of hope that a return to a more normal day to day life is inching closer.

What has not changed
Masks and physical distancing are still needed when fully vaccinated people are in certain crowded outdoor settings and venues, like parks or stadiums. Well-fitted masks are also still needed indoors in public places, such as gyms and restaurants.

While the risk of infection during certain activities is lower for people who are fully vaccinated, it’s important for those who are vaccinated to continue to take precautions in these settings.

When visiting with unvaccinated people from more than one household indoors, fully vaccinated people should also wear masks, practice physical distancing, move outdoors or avoid poorly ventilated spaces and take all other steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

All precautions are also needed when visiting one household if any of the people in the home are unvaccinated and at higher risk for severe COVID-19.

People with weakened immune systems also need to discuss the updated recommendations on when masks should be worn with their healthcare provider—even if they are fully vaccinated.

Article sources open article sources

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.” Apr 27, 2021.

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