DENVER — Fully vaccinated Americans can gather in small groups without masks or social distancing, according to new CDC guidelines.
In a statement on Monday, the CDC says fully vaccinated individuals can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors, without wearing masks or physical distancing. Vaccinated individuals can also visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. Lastly, they can refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if they are asymptomatic.
There are still requirements recommended by the health organization, such as wearing masks in public and avoiding large gatherings, but it is a major step towards reopening.
"It is a motivator to get people vaccinated," said Laura-Anne Cleveland, the Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center. "The more people are vaccinated, the more freedom people get, the more we can go back to a world where we didn't have to worry about social distancing."
The new guidelines come amid an increase in vaccine distribution and a dramatic decrease in coronavirus transmissions and deaths. But there is still concern that a complete relaxation of COVID guidelines could lead to another spike in cases as new variants are discovered.
"There is still risk for outbreak. There is still risk for individuals getting COVID," Cleveland said. "We keep getting these glimmers of hope, which is wonderful. But we also need to be smart about it."