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CDC Says You Can Finally Do This Again After Vaccination

How to approach normality while staying safe.

More than 43 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and while that's a huge accomplishment, health experts emphasize that there's a long way to go. Being fully vaccinated isn't a quick ticket back to pre-pandemic life. To help us navigate this new world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidance on what things are safe for fully vaccinated people to do, and what still poses a risk to yourself and others. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


Gather Indoors Unmasked With Fully Vaccinated People

Two elderly women drinking red wine from glasses, friends communication at home

If you've been fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. "Fully vaccinated" means that two weeks have passed after your second dose of a two-dose regimen, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson's. Before that, you're not fully protected, and you should keep taking all precautions to prevent yourself and others from COVID.


Gather Unmasked With Unvaccinated People From One Household

Family talking over dinner.

When you're fully vaccinated, "You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19," the CDC says.


Skip Self-Isolation After COVID Exposure

couple walking dog

If you're fully vaccinated and you've been around someone who has COVID-19, you don't need to isolate from other people, or get tested for COVID unless you have symptoms.

The exception: If you live in a group setting, like a detention facility or group home. If you've had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should self-isolate for 14 days and get tested, even if you're not showing symptoms.


But You Should Still Take Precautions

Woman in a disposable face mask is checking a shopping list on a smartphone in a supermarket

The CDC says that even after you're fully vaccinated, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others: wear a mask, observe a distance of six feet from others in public, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. 


And Avoid These Things

Affectionate middle-aged couple relaxing on a sofa together at home laughing at something on a tablet computer, natural and spontaneous

Unfortunately, the vaccine is not a passport back to the way life was: The CDC says that even after being fully vaccinated, you should still delay domestic and international travel, and avoid medium or large-sized gatherings. 


How to Survive This Pandemic

Waitress in medical mask inviting customer

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael
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