There are many good reasons to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It protects you, your family, your friends, and your community. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today offered another good reason: You no longer need to wear a mask for certain outdoor activities. 

Specifically, the CDC’s new guidance allows fully vaccinated individuals to go mask-free if they are:

  • Walking, running, biking, or hiking alone or with members of their households;
  • Attending small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends or with a mixture of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals; and
  • Dining outdoors with those from multiple households. 

In addition, the CDC says fully vaccinated people can feel safe at more crowded outdoor events such as performances, parades, or sporting events as long as they wear masks. 

You’ll find all of the CDC’s updated guidance on its website

Last month, the CDC said that people who have been fully vaccinated can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks, among other recommendations.

This new guidance shouldn’t be viewed as a license for fully vaccinated people to retire their masks, but it is another encouraging step toward resuming normal life. Like everyone else, you still need to protect yourself and others by taking precautions, especially when you are indoors around those who aren’t members of your household. Even if you are fully vaccinated, precautions such as masks and distancing are in order when visiting an unvaccinated person who is at higher risk from complications of COVID-19 or who lives with someone who is at increased risk.

We’re still learning things about COVID-19, such as how effective vaccines are against variants of the virus, how well the vaccines keep people from spreading the disease, and how long the vaccine provides protection. As we continue to learn more, public health guidance may be updated later to reflect the best scientific information. 

But this is certain: Each of the vaccines approved for emergency use has been subjected to rigorous trials and found to be safe and highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. 

I hope this encouraging news gives you another reason to get vaccinated against COVID-19, whether it’s at a state mass-vaccination site or another location such as a neighborhood pharmacy or community vaccination site. You can find vaccination locations at  

Getting your vaccine when it’s your turn will help our state and nation build the herd immunity needed to beat COVID-19. You can learn more by reviewing this updated CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.