VIRGINIA – New CDC guidelines said it is safe for people who have been fully vaccinated to meet in-person, indoors, without masks and without social distancing.
Fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
“It’s going to be weird to see people’s noses and mouths again. I’m not used to seeing that. Only eyes up,” said Becky Ashby, a librarian at West Salem Elementary School.
Ashby is fully vaccinated, which means it has been at least two weeks since her final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. She said she is planning to meet up with other friends who’ve been fully vaccinated too.
“Getting to talk to people face to face, it’ll almost feel like things are starting to get back to normal,” said Ashby.
Grandparents who’ve been fully vaccinated can now visit their kids and grandkids from a single household, as long as they’re low risk.
Shelly Zimmerman, a neurotrauma ICU nurse at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, is hoping she can see her family again.
“A lot more encouraging and kind of spreads little bit of light on the situation,” said Zimmerman.
But, the CDC is still advising against non-local travel.
“Every time there is a surge in travel, we have a surge of cases in this country. We know many of our variants have emerged.. Our travel corridor is a place where people are mixing a lot,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 90% of the U.S. population is not vaccinated. That’s why the CDC said everyone, including fully vaccinated people, need to to be careful in public. They should avoid medium to large crowds, wear masks and social distance.
According to the CDC, for now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
- Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
- Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
- Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
- Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Follow guidance issued by individual employers
- Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations
Nancy Bell, the population health manager for the West Piedmont Health District, said fully vaccinated individuals could transmit the virus to others.
“They could certainly bring infection into a group setting and infect someone else. And the people who haven’t been inoculated are still out in the community potentially picking up strains of the virus,” said Bell.
73-year-old Ginny Crowder who lives in Covington told 10 News that even after she gets her second dose on April 1, she’s going to be careful..
“I think it’s all good. I still say be safe,” said Crowder.
CDC officials said this is what a return to normal could look like post-pandemic as more people get vaccinated and researchers learn more about immunity and transmission.
Fully vaccinated individuals also do not need to quarantine or get tested after a known COVID-19 exposure as long as they are asymptomatic.