Now fully vaccinated U.S. Americans can go outdoors and indoors without the need to wear a mask, though with a few exceptions detailed below. This was announced on the latest update to the CDC guidance, summarized by President Biden on Thursday’s presidential address at the White House Rose Garden. “If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask,” he said.

Since March 2020 –for some even earlier– we have longed for things to go back to normal, and this future seems closer than ever now that we reach such an important checkpoint. This development allows for many who have lived in fear –or trauma– for more than one year, to take a weight off our backs and minds (and ears, of course).

“I think it’s a great milestone, a great day,” Biden shared on Thursday. “It’s been made possible by the extraordinary success we’ve had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly.”

This announcement can also function as motivation for those who still haven’t gotten the vaccine. Thus, as more and more get vaccinated, the country is closer than ever to reach herd immunity against the disease.   

President Biden and vice-president Harris were both without masks at Thursday’s address, setting the example for what the beginning of the return to normalcy can look like. 

How did the decision come to be?

The CDC has considered and assessed real-life studies of vaccinated people in Israel and the U.S. and their reaction to COVID-19. The CDC states it is safe for those vaccinated to not wear masks in any kind of group setting (Politico).

What are the exceptions to this relaxation of measures?

According to the Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, one important exception to this ease of restrictions is public transportation. This includes trains, stations, buses, airplanes, and airports, where everyone is still needed to wear masks, both vaccinated and non-vaccinated.

CDC Director, Dr. Walensky

CDC Director, Dr. Walensky

Nonetheless, those who are fully vaccinated can travel within the country without having to test before or after their trip, nor the need to quarantine afterward.

Another exception to the norm would be when visiting a health unit, for this could jeopardize a patient in critical condition.

Want to be free of wearing masks? 

“After a year of hard work and so much sacrifice, the rule is very simple: get vaccinated or wear

a mask until you do,” Biden concludes. 

The official webpage to find a vaccine near you is: