The Centers for Disease Control just issued new guidelines that would permit people who've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to gather without wearing masks.

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People who have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine (and are two weeks removed from their second dose) can now safely gather in small groups without masks, which is a good sign that the fight against the pandemic is working.

Even though the vaccines provide a certain amount of protection against contracting and spreading COVID-19, scientists are not 100 percent sure how long that protection will last. But, still, this limited freedom brings some relief. Could this really mean that 'fun' to a certain extent is returning?

Maybe not so fast. The CDC says that we should continue to take precautions, like wearing a mask and social distancing, when out in the public among strangers. The new guidelines state, 'The level of precautions taken should be determined by the characteristics of the unvaccinated people, who remain unprotected against COVID-19.'

Here's what the fully-vaccinated can do:

  • Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing.
  • Visit indoors with other unvaccinated people from a single family without masks or social distancing, if the unvaccinated people are low risk for severe disease.
  • Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has COVID-19 but is asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

However, if you've received both vaccine doses, CDC recommends you continue mask-wearing in public and social distance, avoid medium and large sized crowds, avoid public spaces that may be poorly ventilated, wash hands frequently, and get tested for COVID if feeling symptomatic.

For people for are not fully-vaccinated, guidelines remain as follows:

  • Wear a mask and keep good physical distance among the unvaccinated who are at increased risk for severe disease, or if the unvaccinated person has a member of their immediate household who is at high risk.
  • Wear masks and socially distance when visiting unvaccinated people from different households.

Read the new CDC federal health guidelines in full here.

SOURCES: cdc.gov; CNN.com

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