EXPLAINER: Do I still have to wear a mask? What about kids?
The government's new guidance on masks for vaccinated people has left some Americans confused and sent businesses and states scrambling to adjust their rules.
Target and CVS on Monday became the latest retailers to say vaccinated shoppers and workers don't have to wear masks in stores. New York said it will adopt the new mask advice this week, while California said it will wait a month.
About 123 million Americans — 37% of the population — are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, and more than 157 million, or 47%, have received at least one dose.
WHAT'S THE NEW ADVICE?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors and can stop social distancing in most places. Fully vaccinated means two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.
“If you are vaccinated, we are saying you are safe, you can take off your mask, and you are not at risk of severe disease or hospitalization from COVID-19," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If you are not vaccinated, you are not safe. Please go get vaccinated or continue to wear your mask.”
ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS?
Yes. The CDC says everyone — vaccinated or unvaccinated — should continue to wear a mask in certain places. Masks are still required on public transportation — buses, trains and planes — and in other settings like hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. Some states and businesses and stores are dropping their mask rules for fully vaccinated people because of the CDC change, while others are keeping them in place. California is waiting until next month to give the public and businesses time to prepare.