As the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 vaccinations has continued, we’ve seen the guidelines and regulations from various government entities and even theme parks change.
Recently, we saw a major theme park stop temperature checks and outdoor mask requirements. The CDC has also updated its indoor mask guidance for those who are fully vaccinated. But, now BIG changes have been announced when it comes to the use of mask outdoors.
Yesterday, we shared that the Biden administration was set to release updated mask guidelines for the outdoors, and now those new guidelines have arrived. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now relaxed some of its mask guidelines, particularly as they apply to the outdoors. Let’s break it all down.
The CDC has released one set of guidelines for outdoor mask use by those who are fully vaccinated. A reminder that the CDC considers individuals to be “fully vaccinated” 2 weeks after their 2nd dose of a 2-dose vaccine series (like Pfizer or Moderna) or 2 weeks after a single dose vaccine (like Johnson & Johnson).
Previously, the CDC’s guidance said, “masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household. However, some areas may have mask mandates while out in public, so please check the rules in your local area (such as in your city, county, or state). Additionally, check whether any federal mask mandates apply to where you will be going.”
The CDC also said that masks should be worn by those ages 2 and older in “public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.”
Now, the CDC’s updated guidance say that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks outdoors while walking, running, hiking, or biking alone or with members of their household, or if they attend small outdoors gatherings. The new guidance does not say that vaccinated individuals may forgo masks altogether in outdoor settings.
If vaccinated individuals are not in one of the listed situations, they should continue to wear masks and social distance, even while outdoors.
Not Fully Vaccinated
What about the guidance for those who are not fully vaccinated? According to the CDC, more prevention measures are needed. Unvaccinated individuals may go without their masks while running, walking, or biking outdoors or with members of their households. They may also forgo masks while attending small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated individuals. The following chart breaks down requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals:
Keep in mind that these mask adjustments are for outdoor situations. There is separate guidance when it comes to whether you should wear a mask indoors.
At the moment, Disney continues to require all guests ages 2 and older to wear a mask in the theme parks at all times except when allowed to be removed, such as when swimming, when actively eating or drinking while distanced and stationary, or temporarily when taking an outdoor photo.
The CDC’s new outdoor mask guidelines state that even fully vaccinated individuals must continue to wear a mask at “crowded outdoor” events. Earlier this year, Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, anticipated that some form of mask-wearing would be required in the parks through 2021. You can read Disney World’s full, current mask policy here.
We’ll continue to keep an eye out for more details on this situation.