Among the changes, those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks for outdoor activities like walking, running, biking or gathering outdoors with a small group.
The CDC defines fully vaccinated as 14 days after the second shot.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York state will adopt the CDC's new guidance on mask use for fully vaccinated people.
"The guidelines state that fully vaccinated people, defined as two or more weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, no longer need to wear masks outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues," Cuomo said. "However, masks should still be worn indoors and should still be worn by people who are not fully vaccinated. This guidance reemphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated and closely adhering to public health guidance, particularly if you are not yet vaccinated. Fully vaccinated individuals with immunocompromising conditions should consult with their healthcare provider first."
Cuomo called the new guidance "liberating," especially with the weather getting warmer.
According to the new CDC guidance, fully vaccinated people can engage in more activities than unvaccinated people, which include:
- Fully vaccinated workers no longer need to be restricted from work following an exposure as long as they are asymptomatic
- Fully vaccinated residents of non-healthcare congregate settings no longer need to quarantine following a known exposure
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
- Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
- Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
- Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
- Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
- Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible (in nonhealthcare settings)
In New York City, 2.3 million people have been fully vaccinated, and the new guidelines will make it easier for vaccinated people to do all types of activities like outdoor dining.
Indoor activities will remain essentially unchanged, and masks are required if with other people.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his public health team say that guidance makes sense.
There is uncertainty that a vaccinated person can contract the virus without symptoms and then infect someone that is not vaccinated.
Before the CDC announcement, de Blasio said it is a "new approach the city can definitely work with," but he wants New Yorkers to continue wearing their masks indoors -- certainly during May and June - and "assess from there."
Despite the updated guidance, most people in Central Park on Tuesday evening weren't eager to follow the new, relaxed guidelines. After being told for a year they had to wear a mask, most did.
Dr. Waleed Javaid is an epidemiologist at Mount Sinai and he says the vaccine can change the world -- but only if people get it.
"You can start moving toward a normal life if you are fully vaccinated," Javaid said. "If there is any reason to get vaccinated, this is it: you protect yourself, your loved ones."
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has not made a statement on the new guidelines, but says it's promising.
"We'll take what the CDC and president advise into serious consideration," Murphy said.
While many in Somerville were seen with masks down, Ronnie Fairley's mask was up because he got his first dose two days ago. He is still a few weeks yet away from being able to be maskless with friends and family.
"They got their second shot already, so I'm the last one to get it, so I'm the one waiting to get it," Fairley said.
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