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CDC Launches New Guidelines: Fully Vaccinated Individuals Don’t Have to Wear Masks

Nicky Andrews | The PhoenixAmericans can shed their masks once they’re fully vaccinated, officials say.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced fully vaccinated people can go back to a more normal lifestyle in summer 2021, officials say.

The city of Chicago, in compliance with the new CDC guidance, will no longer require masks in an indoor setting as of May 18, but officials are advising all businesses who can’t check vaccination cards to continue requiring masks until the city fully reopens.

The CDC announced May 13 fully vaccinated people can resume some activities they did prior to the pandemic, including not wearing masks or physically distancing unless it’s required by state or local governments or private institutions.

Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed May 13 Illinois will move into the Bridge Phase of the Restore Illinois reopening plan on May 14. This phase is the final one before a full reopening, according to the Illinois Government website. 

The new phase allows for higher capacities of people in public settings. Depending on how COVID-19 continues to spread, Illinois could enter phase five of the reopening plan as soon as June 11, according to the website.  

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after their dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, according to the CDC website. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said businesses may still continue to require masks and social distancing inside, even for those fully vaccinated, but individuals should still check for signs outside the stores before entering.  

Masks will still be required when traveling on planes, trains or other public transportation. Fully vaccinated individuals don’t need to get tested before leaving the United States unless the place they are traveling to requires it, but they still must show a negative test or recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight back to the U.S., according to the CDC’s website. 

After coming back to the U.S. after international travel, fully vaccinated people don’t need to self-quarantine but the CDC recommends people get tested three to five days after traveling, according to the website.

If fully vaccinated people have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they don’t need to quarantine or get tested unless they begin to show symptoms, according to the website. 

Phase 5 in Illinois will begin once 70% of residents 65 and older have been vaccinated and 50% of residents 16 and older have been vaccinated and hospitalizations and deaths are at a stable decline, according to the State of Illinois Coronavirus Response website. 

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