A mask break: Federal health officials say vaccinated people can doff face coverings when outside, away from crowds

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear masks while outside in uncrowded areas or in small groups, federal health officials said Tuesday as part of new guidance.

The federal health officials urged people — even those who are vaccinated — to continue wearing masks in indoor settings like the grocery store as a way to protect others who are not yet vaccinated and to reduce transmission. They also said people should continue to use face coverings in crowded areas even if outdoors, at events like sports games or concerts where distancing is more difficult. While the available Covid-19 vaccines are incredibly powerful at preventing illness and are cutting transmission, some people do contract the virus after being immunized. (Researchers are still trying to understand just how efficiently people who have these so-called breakthrough infections can transmit the virus to others; it’s possible the vaccines cut down on how contagious they are.)

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