There is still risk of catching COVID-19 even if you're vaccinated, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday that the risk was low enough that they recommend fully vaccinated people can do certain activities mask-free. "This is an exciting and powerful moment," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC. "It could only happen because of the work of so many who made sure we have the rapid administration of three safe and effective vaccines." (Remember, being fully vaccinated means waiting two weeks after your last dose.) Read on to find out all the places where you can go now, with less risk, if you're vaccinated—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Symptoms That Might Secretly Be Due to COVID.
Eat at an Indoor Restaurant or Bar
"Avoid bars," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has spent the last year saying. Same with eating indoors—don't do it."Those are the things that drive the community spread—not the schools," he had said. Now Fauci and Walensky say it's advisable to enter a bar or restaurant, unmasked, if you're vaccinated.
Sing in an Indoor Chorus
Being able to sing in an indoor chorus will come as a relief to those who wish to do so. In one key CDC study from last May, COVID-19 was found to spread at a choir practice among those who were unvaccinated. "The potential for superspreader events underscores the importance of physical distancing, including avoiding gathering in large groups, to control spread of COVID-19. Enhancing community awareness can encourage symptomatic persons and contacts of ill persons to isolate or self-quarantine to prevent ongoing transmission," said the study at the time.
Visit a Barber or Hair Salon
A study as recently as February found that COVID may spread in a hair salon. "Because the exhaled breath flowing downward in the front can be suppressed significantly, the service operator can reduce the risk of infection to the customer by wearing a mask," said the study. Now that anyone who is vaccinated can visit a barber or hair salon with less risk, both parties may be unmasked.
Go to an Uncrowded, Indoor Shopping Center or Museum
The days of wiping down every rutabaga may have faded as Americans discovered COVID-19 was more easily transmitted by air. But now vaccinated shoppers can breathe easier when grocery shopping or going to the mall or a local exhibit: the CDC says it's OK, if you're vaccinated, to go to an uncrowded, indoor shopping center or museum.
Attend a Small, Indoor Gathering of Fully Vaccinated and Unvaccinated People From Multiple Households
If the past year has proven anything, it's how much we humans like to interact. The CDC was happy to announce that, if you are vaccinated, you can attend a small, indoor gathering of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people from multiple households.
Go to an Indoor Movie Theater
It's OK to enter a movie theater if you are vaccinated, says the CDC. This will be a boon for the film industry, which has seen record low box office, as movies like A Quiet Place Part II and Black Widow are due in theaters in the coming months.
Attend a Full-Capacity Worship Service
Just as choirs had to stop singing, the music of prayer died down over the last year, as services moved online or were conducted with limited crowds. No more. The CDC announced that vaccinated people can now attend a full-capacity worship service.
Participate in an Indoor, High Intensity Exercise Class
Welcome news not just for gyms, but for high intensity exercises classes like those at F45, if you're vaccinated, the CDC says you can work out inside at a high intensity class.
You Still Need to Wear a Mask When Traveling
"Right now, we still have the requirement to wear masks when you travel on buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation," said Dr. Walensky. "As well as airports and stations. CDC, as I mentioned, is going to continue to update our guidance as policy and the science emerges right now for travel. We are asking people to continue to wear their masks."
If You Remain Unvaccinated…
"Wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, and wash your hands," says the CDC. "The science is also very clear about unvaccinated people. You remain at risk of mild or severe illness of death or spreading the disease to others. You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away…If you are not fully vaccinated, you are not fully protected." So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated, and if you're unvaccinated, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), and to protect your health, don't miss these Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers.