The Centers for Disease Control on Monday said Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely gather indoors without masks, but kept recommendations against large events and travel in place.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the recommendations Monday at a White House COVID-19 response team briefing.
According to the new CDC guidance, small groups of people who are at least two weeks out from their final vaccine shot can safely gather indoors in small groups.
The CDC also says that small groups of vaccinated people can safely gather indoors with unvaccinated people — as long as those unvaccinated people do not have pre-existing conditions that would put them at elevated risk for the virus. In order to visit with those unvaccinated people at elevated risk, the CDC says people should wear masks and physically distance.
The CDC also said that meetings between vaccinated and unvaccinated people should be limited to people of no more than two households.
The agency also said Monday that fully-vaccinated people do not need to quarantine or get a COVID-19 test if they are knowingly exposed to a person who has contracted the virus unless experiencing symptoms.
The CDC kept most of its recommendations in place. It still advises that Americans avoid travel, avoid large gatherings and wear masks while in public.
When asked why the CDC chose to keep travel restrictions in place, Walensky noted that cases surge following spikes and travel, and noted that 90% of Americans are still not vaccinated. Members of the White House COVID-19 response team said the CDC would consider lifting more restrictions as more Americans get vaccinated.
While COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be extremely safe and effective, none have proven to be 100% effective in preventing disease. And while the vaccines have been extremely effective in preventing severe illness, it’s still not clear how those who have been vaccinated spread the virus.
Health experts have been warning that even fully vaccinated people should still wear a mask and social distance when possible to protect others and themselves.