The CDC's New COVID-19 Guidance for Activities Is Great News for Travelers

The list of secondary perks for fully vaccinated people just got a lot longer

Friends sharing a meal while camping by lake
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The list of secondary perks for fully vaccinated people just got a whole lot longer, thanks to a much-anticipated update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On April 27, 2021, the agency officially changed its guidelines for social interactions and activities, and it’s great news—especially for travelers.

According to the update, people who have received either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson's Janssen vaccine—and waited two weeks for the vaccine to reach its full efficacy level—have the green light to socialize both indoors and outdoors in small groups, without wearing masks or physical distancing.

The new guidelines also allow an unvaccinated individual to socialize with fully vaccinated family and friends outside without masks or physical distancing. They also give the go-ahead for fully vaccinated people to gather indoors with unvaccinated folks sans masks or physical distancing, as long as it’s a maximum of two households mixing and no one who is unvaccinated is at-risk for severe cases of COVID-19. Want to go to a festival or crowded outdoor event? If you’re fully vaccinated, the CDC now says it’s safe as long as you mask up.

"There is a significant amount of epidemiological data available that would suggest that outdoor transmission is unlikely. Further, there are several studies indicating that viral aerosols are likely to decay more rapidly outdoors," said Joshua L. Santarpia, Ph.D., an associate professor of Pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. "Together, this suggests that risk outdoors is low and that reducing restrictions on mask wear during outdoor activities is reasonable."

Obviously, this is all great news for travelers, ushering us one step closer to that carefree pre-pandemic staycation or vacation.

Yes, masks are still required for everyone on all forms of public transit, including planes, trains, and buses. However, these new guidelines will hopefully help ease anxiety for fully vaccinated travelers looking to visit an unvaccinated friend or family member, going on staycation and splitting a hotel room with an unvaccinated friend or family member, or even just being able to enjoy a day at the beach or hike without worrying about masks or keeping six feet apart.

Other travel perks for fully vaccinated people include no pre-travel testing or post-travel quarantine for domestic travel and no quarantine upon return from international travel (though you’ll still need to show proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours for entry back into the U.S.).

However, despite the new guidelines and although things are beginning to look and feel a little more 'normal' in the travel world, the CDC and U.S. State Department still advise against all non-essential travel both domestically and abroad—for now.

For the updated guidelines and a list of general social activities and their risk levels for both vaccinated and unvaccinated participants, head over to the CDC website.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "When You've Been Fully Vaccinated." April 27, 2021.