Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to mask up outdoors when there is no crowd, President Joe Biden said Tuesday, before celebrating by taking his first short walk at the White House without the face covering. Biden told the nation in televised remarks from the leafy North Lawn that “stunning progress” has been made in getting vaccines administered and that stringent mask recommendation can now be relaxed. “For those who haven’t gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you’re younger, or thinking you don’t need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated now,” Biden said.
He was speaking shortly after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the top government health agency, notified fully vaccinated Americans that they can go mask-free most of the time outdoors. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing many things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” the CDC said in a statement.
Masks are still considered necessary for vaccinated people if they are at concerts, parades, or large sporting events, even when outdoors, the CDC said. Indoor activities also remain under a masks recommendation. This includes movie theaters and even “uncrowded” indoor shopping centers and museums, the CDC said.
More than half of all US adults have now received at least one of two vaccine doses. The surging rate of people seeking out vaccines has begun to taper, but new Covid-19 cases are also falling. Biden said the change signified a shift in the way people can enjoy life as the summer approaches.