Federal health officials on Tuesday announced that fully vaccinated people can go without masks outdoors when walking, jogging or biking, or dining with friends at outdoor restaurants, which is a milestone development for tens of millions of pandemic-drained Americans after more than a year of masking up and locking down.
President Joe Biden touted the relaxation of restrictions as one of the reasons for people for which they should get vaccinated. He urged them to move forward and take the initiative to not just only to protect themselves but also to protect others too around them so that they can live normally and free, by “getting together with friends, going to the park for a picnic without needing a mask.”
July 4 has been set as a target by Biden for when people could get together for backyard picnics with a sense of normalcy and both the new mask guidance and his remarks were geared to encouraging people to continue getting the shots.
Biden said in remarks on the North Lawn of the White House said,“ I … want to thank everyone who has gotten the vaccine for doing your patriotic duty and helping us get on the path to Independence Day.”
He arrived at the lectern wearing a mask. He returned to the White House without one, saying he didn’t have to put it on until he got back into the building.
When the CDC says you don’t have to wear a mask outside if you’re fully vaccinated and not in a crowd. pic.twitter.com/4XqtkZGjsI
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 27, 2021
The latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes as more than 52 percent of eligible people in the United States have gotten at least one shot of the vaccines, but the pace of vaccinations appears to be slowing due to vaccine hesitancy especially among the rural residents and Republicans who believe the risks from the virus are overblown.
Moreover, because of lack of health services and transportation have been barriers to access, the uptake has also been slower among communities of color.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing, “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do, what they should not do.” “Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.”
However, according to officials the changed guidance was focused at helping those who are fully vaccinated can return safely to old routines. Hence, others are also encouraged to get their shots to counter highly contagious new variants.
The recommendations also point out the growing calls from infectious-disease and other public health experts to relax mask mandates for the outdoors because breezes disperse airborne virus particles, distancing is easier, and humidity and sunlight render the coronavirus less viable.
The guidance for that reason says that even individuals who are not vaccinated may forego masks when walking, jogging or biking outdoors with household members.
But the officials still caution that crowded outdoor settings pose risks and urge everyone — both the vaccinated and unvaccinated — to wear masks when attending sporting events, live performances and parades.