States begin lifting mask mandates following updated CDC guidance

States are beginning to scrap their mask mandates after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance on Thursday saying vaccinated Americans can go without masks in most settings.

The agency advises that people who are fully vaccinated — meaning it has been two weeks since the last required dose of a vaccine — don’t have to wear masks indoors or outside, and don’t need to maintain physical distance.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated, can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing," CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFauci warns of 'localized surges' in areas with low vaccination rates The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure Overnight Health Care: Biden touts 300 million vaccine doses in 150 days | Biden warns of 'potentially deadlier' delta variant | Public option fades with little outcry from progressives MORE said Thursday. "If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”


Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Kentucky immediately adopted the CDC guidance.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said on Twitter that he is revising his executive orders to lift additional mitigation for vaccinated people.

“I firmly believe in following the science and will revise my executive orders in line with @CDCgov guidelines lifting additional mitigations for vaccinated people,” Pritzker tweeted. “The scientists’ message is clear: if you are vaccinated, you can safely do much more”

Minnesota Gov. Tim WalzTim WalzMinnesota offering state fair tickets, fishing licenses to promote coronavirus vaccines Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers Minnesota House votes to legalize marijuana MORE (D) said that the statewide mask mandate in his state was coming to an end on Friday, but local businesses and jurisdictions would still be able to require masks.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said that beginning on May 19, outdoor masking would no longer be required and indoor masking for fully vaccinated residents would not be required. However, the governor is still requiring indoor masks for those that are unvaccinated.


The CDC’s guidance was a pivotal moment as the U.S. forges ahead with its vaccination efforts, and comes as the Biden administration seeks to reopen American in time for the Fourth of July.

Data from the CDC shows that 58.9 percent of adults have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 45 percent have been fully inoculated. Still, millions of Americans have yet to be vaccinated.

Pfizer’s vaccine has recently been authorized for adolescents aged 12-15, the latest step in expanding eligibility.