The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday finally gave a taste of what safe, vaccinated life should look like in America. In a press briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky explained that with community spread still high and over 90 percent of the population yet to be fully vaccinated, Americans need to remain vigilant against the pandemic. But she laid out a few scenarios in which people can gather with low risk as long as they have waited two weeks after their second shot (or, if they received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, their only shot).
Specifically, fully vaccinated people can gather in private settings—like at home—with other fully vaccinated people, without masks or physical distancing. As Walensky put it, “If you and a friend or you and a family member are both vaccinated, you can have dinner together,” she said, adding, “You can visit your grandparents if you have been vaccinated and they have been, too.”
Also: Fully vaccinated people can visit unvaccinated people from one other household, indoors and without masks or distancing, Walensky said—so long as the unvaccinated people are at low risk of severe COVID-19.
That said, vaccinated people meeting with higher-risk vaccinated people must still congregate outside or in well-ventilated areas, and wear masks, Walensky cautioned. Given our still-limited data-set about COVID-19 transmission by asymptomatic vaccinated people, everyone involved must wear masks and distance in that scenario, the director added. And even if you are vaccinated, you should meet outside, with masks, if you are meeting people from multiple households who are not vaccinated.
Finally, in what might be the sweetest bit of relief to people who have heard the word “quarantine” more times than they can count over the last year, vaccinated people do not need to quarantine or get tested following known coronavirus exposure—as long as they are asymptomatic, Walensky said.