Biden puts new CDC mask guidelines into practice

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President Biden will scale back his own use of masks when outdoors in accordance with updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Biden delivered remarks on the North Lawn of the White House to outline the new guidance from the CDC that says people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need a face covering when outdoors, either alone or in small groups. While Biden wore a mask walking up to the podium, he did not put it back on when walking back into the building.

“He’ll be following public health guidelines,” Psaki said. “So I think you saw him outside today: He took the mask off, he didn’t put the mask back on. It will take some time for all of us to adjust, and I know when I take my kids to the playground this weekend, I’ll be happy not to be wearing a mask.”

Psaki said administration officials would continue to wear masks inside the building until there are updated recommendations for workplaces. Biden has been fully vaccinated since January, and the vast majority of senior White House staff has also been vaccinated.

The CDC earlier Tuesday issued new recommendations stating that it is safe for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be outside without a mask, but only in small groups.

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks during small, outdoor gatherings even if there’s a mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households is also considered a safe activity for vaccinated people to do without a mask, the agency said. 

Biden has scarcely been seen without a mask since taking office, except for when he is delivering remarks at a podium distanced away from others. His approach has been a full reversal from former President Trump, who only wore a mask on camera a few times and regularly undercut evidence from his own health advisers that masks reduced transmission of the virus.

Tags CDC CDC guidelines Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Jen Psaki Joe Biden Masks Pandemic

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