Vaccinated Americans Can Breathe All Over Each Other Outdoors Again, Says CDC

Illustration for article titled Vaccinated Americans Can Breathe All Over Each Other Outdoors Again, Says CDC
Image: Kena Betancu (Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the covid-19 safety guidelines, announcing that fully vaccinated Americans can forgo face masks outdoors, except for when they are in crowded settings. That means, according to this new CDC update, you’re free to spread your aerosol emissions all over your fellow vaccinated friends, loved ones, and strangers you pass by at the park with minimal concern.

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The CDC’s website states that those who are two weeks past their final vaccination shot can “gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues.” In other words, outdoor activities like jogging, hiking, and bike riding, as well as outdoor get-togethers with people from multiple households are a-okay. Gone are the days of spreading out beach towels six feet apart from your pals, but let’s be real: Plenty of people weren’t following those guidelines outdoors anyway. At least now there’s less concern about getting someone sick in the process.

Guidelines on wearing masks in indoor public spaces haven’t changed, however: Keep them on at the gym, the movies, public transit, the corner store, the mall, etc.

Below is an updated CDC chart of suggested safety protocols for both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans:

Illustration for article titled Vaccinated Americans Can Breathe All Over Each Other Outdoors Again, Says CDC
Screenshot: CDC.gov

This comes as over 50 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine. The updated guidelines also, according to the CDC, “may help improve coronavirus vaccine acceptance and uptake.” While a return of social privileges may be a good motivator for many, it’s hard to imagine that those who remain uninterested in receiving the vaccine or following mask mandates will necessarily be encouraged by this news. But hey, those who played by the rules can enjoy the sensation of walking down the (uncrowded) sidewalk, maskless, without feeling like an asshole.

Maybe it’s time to start wearing lipstick again.

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.

DISCUSSION

A few weeks ago I made the big decision to quit my job in pursuit of a new career path. (I’m doing a UI boot camp!) The majority of that decision was down to pay and WFH flexibility, but I’d be lying if I said not having to wear a mask for eight hours a day for the foreseeable future didn’t make the decision a whole lot easier.

I’m having trouble staying hydrated because I can’t casually sip drinks with it on, I’ve been getting terrible mascne, it gets musty after about the fourth hour and my skin gets grossly damp/oily feeling, and it even brings out old speech impediment/stuttering issues from my childhood (I’m guessing because it makes it harder to hear myself speak, but whatever is causing it, it’s killing my self-esteem).

I don’t have any sympathy for people who make the choice to go into public spaces like stores and restaurants and then complain about having to wear a mask for the hour they’re there, and I’m going to continue to wear mine wherever/whenever the CDC tells me to because I care about the health and wellbeing of the people around me, but I still hate my masks more with each passing day.

I’m beyond excited to see the beginning of the beginning of the end for mask wearing.

(Still quitting my job, tho.)