SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/CNN/KPIX) — While local and state mask requirements remain in place, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued new guidance on outdoor use for fully vaccinated Americans.
According to federal health officials, if you are fully vaccinated, you can now take your mask off at small outdoor gatherings or when dining outside with friends from multiple households.READ MORE: Two Die In East Oakland Sunday Night Shooting
“It’s exciting. It’s a relief. It’s nice to take a breath of fresh air without wearing a mask,” said San Francisco resident Amanda Levensohn.
But life has not returned completely to normal for fully vaccinated people.
The federal health agency says even if you’ve been vaccinated, you should avoid medium to large gatherings. The CDC did not define how many people would be in medium or large gatherings.
For the fully vaccinated who do choose to attend a crowded outdoor event, such as a live performance, parade, or sporting event, wearing a mask is recommended.
The CDC advises vaccinated people to still wear masks in indoor public spaces, such as a mall, movie theatre or museum.
“For the gray zone, going to the grocery store, farmers market, it doesn’t change all that much,” said UCSF Professor of Epidemiology Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.
Unvaccinated people still need to wear a mask, federal health officials said.
“I think it’s meant to be a bit of a carrot. I like the fact that they came out with out,” said UCSF professor of epidemiology, Dr. George Rutherford.
UCSF professor of medicine Dr. Monica Gandhi who wrote one of the first papers on the efficacy of mask wearing during this pandemic says a move like this will inspire the vaccine hesitant to go get their dose.
“When people see that mask mandates get peeled off, don’t have to do it outside, eventually won’t have to do it inside if you don’t want to — this I think is really motivating for people on the fence to say, I see life changing, I’m gonna go and get vaccinated.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new outdoor mask recommendations on Tuesday.
People are considered fully vaccinated by the CDC two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced late Tuesday morning that the state would align with the new guidelines.
CA will be aligning with the new CDC guidelines.READ MORE: Steph Curry, Draymond Green Ready For Play-In Game; Warriors To Take On Lakers Wednesday Night
If you're fully vaccinated, outdoors, and not in a large crowd — you do not need to wear a mask.
We've administered 29+ million vaccines & have the lowest positivity rate and case rate in the nation.
Let's do this. Vax up, CA!!
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 27, 2021
President Joe Biden referenced the updated guidance for wearing masks outdoors while giving remarks on the state of the pandemic on Tuesday, ahead of his first address to Congress on Wednesday.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 27, 2021
Biden urged all Americans to “go get the shot,” noting that it would help the country move towards resuming a version of life as normal by the July 4 target date he had previously set.
“While we still have a long way to go in this fight, and a lot of work to do in May and June to get us to July 4th, we’ve made stunning progress, because of all of you, the American people,” Mr. Biden said outside the White House.
One of Biden’s top coronavirus advisers, Dr. Anthony Fauci, strongly hinted to CNN that the guidance would be updated this week. Fauci told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday that he didn’t want to get ahead of the CDC but the agency “will be coming out with updating their guidelines of what people who are vaccinated can do and even some who are not vaccinated.”
On Tuesday morning, before the updated mask guidance was announced, US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on CBS This Morning that people who are vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to return to a more normal lifestyle.
“The message is clear. You’re vaccinated, guess what, you get to return to a more normal lifestyle. If you’re not vaccinated, you’re still a danger. You’re still in danger as well,” Becerra said. “So get vaccinated.”MORE NEWS: Demonstrators Call on San Francisco to Keep Great Highway Closed to Cars
Andria Borba contributed to this report.