The CDC has eased its guidelines on the wearing of face masks when outdoors, now saying that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers.

The CDC also said that those who are currently unvaccinated can also go outside without masks, in some situations. This is a change for the CDC, who has been advising Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet of one another, an advisement that has come under fire by individuals and organizations that point to recent messages from Dr. Faucci stating that current data is showing that it’s very hard to contract the COVID-19 virus from someone outdoors. “But when you look around at the common sense situation, the risk is really low, especially if you’re vaccinated,” Fauci said. The COVID-19 transmission risk for people engaging in outdoor activities is “minuscule,” especially for vaccinated individuals. The CDC guideline change comes as more than half of U.S. adults — or about 140 million people — have received at least one dose of vaccine, and more than a third have been fully vaccinated.

CDC Mask Guide

“Today, I hope, is a day when we can take another step back to the normalcy of before,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what you can’t do. Today, I am going to tell you some of the things you can do, if you are fully vaccinated.”

The agency continues to recommend masks at indoor public places, such as hair salons, restaurants, shopping centers, gyms, museums and movie theaters, saying that is still the safer course even for vaccinated people.

She said the CDC guidance should be a model for states in setting their mask-wearing requirements.

The advice to the unvaccinated applies to adults and children alike, according to the CDC. None of the COVID-19 vaccines in use in the U.S. is authorized for children under 16.