People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The updated guidelines released Monday provide the first glimpse into a return to a new normal once people are vaccinated. The CDC also says fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household, such as visiting relatives who all live together, without masks. However, there are exceptions. If any of those people have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, a mask is still recommended. There are still a wide range of health factors that could lead someone to be at higher risk, such as heart conditions, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and obesity. See more guidelines at cdc.gov/coroanvirus.
“If you are fully vaccinated, it is likely a low risk for you to invite other fully vaccinated friends to dinner inside your private residence,” the CDC says. “If fully vaccinated grandparents are visiting with their unvaccinated daughter and her children and the daughter’s unvaccinated neighbors also come over, the visit should then take place outdoors, wearing well-fitted masks, and maintaining physical distance.”
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.
About 9.3% of New Yorkers have currently completed the vaccine series, according to the New York State Department of Health. Just over 18% have received at least one dose.
The CDC also says that if you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. An exception is for those who live in a group setting such as a group home or detention facility. If they are around someone who has COVID-19, they should still avoid other people for 14 days and get tested, regardless of symptoms.
The latest recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings.
The CDC urges people who are fully vaccinated to still take steps to protect themselves and others by wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces in public. Those guidelines also apply for gatherings of people from more than one other household, as well as visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
People should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings, the CDC says. Anyone with symptoms should still seek a COVID test and isolate from other people.
The CDC also still recommends delaying any domestic or international travel. And for people who still must travel are encouraged to follow CDC requirements and recommendations. All air passengers coming to the United States, including citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test or documentation or recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the country. Masks are required on planes and other forms of public transportation.
“We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death,” the CDC guidelines say. “We’re still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced 10 new state-run mass vaccination sites would soon open across the state. Two are in Suffolk County: the SUNY Stony Brook Southampton campus and Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Further details on those are expected soon, the governor said.
Mr. Cuomo spoke from Javits Center in Manhattan Monday where he urged members of minority communities to take the vaccine. He said the Black and Hispanic communities are being vaccinated at a lower percentage than their population, whereas white and Asian people are being vaccinated at higher rates than their population.
“We are making the vaccine available on an equitable basis,” Mr. Cuomo said. “There is a hesitancy problem in the Black community.”