Federal health officials said Tuesday that fully vaccinated people can go without masks outdoors when walking, jogging or biking, or dining with friends at outdoor restaurants — a milestone development for tens of millions of pandemic-weary Americans after more than a year of masking up and locking down.
President Biden touted the relaxation of restrictions as another reason for people to get vaccinated, urging them to move forward not just to protect themselves and those around them, but so they can live more normally, by “getting together with friends, going to the park for a picnic without needing a mask.
Biden had set July 4 as a target for when people could get together for backyard picnics with a sense of normalcy, and both the new mask guidance and his remarks were geared to encouraging people to continue getting the shots.
The recommendations also address growing calls from infectious-disease and other public health experts to relax mask mandates for the outdoors because breezes disperse airborne virus particles, distancing is easier, and humidity and sunlight render the coronavirus less viable.
For that reason, the guidance says that even unvaccinated individuals may forego masks when walking, jogging or biking outdoors with household members. Officials still caution that crowded outdoor settings pose risks and urge everyone — both the vaccinated and unvaccinated — to wear masks when attending sporting events, live performances and parades.
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