We Break Down the CDC's New Guidelines For Wearing Masks Outside JIC You're as Confused as We Were

The CDC announced on April 27 that if you've been fully vaccinated — meaning it's been at least two weeks since your second shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two weeks after the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine — you can now go outside without a face mask on. Before you get visions of all the outdoor cookouts and pool parties that are in your future this summer, the CDC (naturally) outlined some specific guidelines and stipulations even if you've been fully vaccinated, especially as it pertains to crowds and if you will be around people who haven't been vaccinated. Here's the deal:

New Face Mask Guidelines For Outdoors

  • If you've been fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can now gather outdoors without a mask on while walking, running, biking, or hiking.
  • If you've been fully vaccinated, you can dine outside in a small group with people outside of your household without a mask on.
  • If you've been fully vaccinated and you're attending a small outdoor gathering, including with people outside of your household, you don't need to wear a mask.
  • If you've been fully vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask for crowded outdoor gatherings and venues such as sporting events.

Although these updated guidelines are modest, they are a step toward easing the precautions and recommendations for protecting against contracting the coronavirus. The CDC doesn't clarify what they mean by "small gathering," and still recommends not attending medium or large indoor gatherings, even if you're fully vaccinated. It's important to note that everyone has their own level of comfort on taking precautions against COVID-19, even if they've been fully vaccinated.

The CDC recommends fully vaxxed people still wear a mask if they're in an indoor public setting, gathering indoors with people (including children) from other households who haven't been vaccinated, and visiting indoors with an unvaccinated person who is at an increased risk of severe illness or death from contracting COVID-19 or lives with an at-risk person.

To make things a little more confusing, the CDC issued an updated chart that detailed the safest activities for people who haven't been fully vaccinated and aren't wearing a mask, which includes walking, running, or biking outdoors with members of your own household and attending a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends. They stopped short of issuing updated guidelines for unvaxxed people and wearing masks outside.

POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.