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CDC relaxes indoor mask guidelines for those fully vaccinated

Glendale already had lifted mask mandate on city property


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took a step Thursday to help Americans resume pre-pandemic normalcy.

The CDC on May 13 eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.

“We have all longed for this moment -- when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

The city of Glendale lifted mask restrictions inside city-owned facilities on April 19. Glendale initially instituted a mask mandate back on June 20, 2020.

“Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe,” Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said on March 26, 2021, in anticipation of lifting the mask mandate on city property a month later. “By getting vaccinated we can help end the damaging effects COVID has had on our economy while preventing illness and deaths in Arizona.”

State-run vaccination sites, such as Gila River Arena in Glendale, along with many pharmacies and other providers around the state, began offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to children 12 to 15 years old on Thursday, May 13.

This week, Glendale saw a slight increase in positive case totals over a period measured since April 19.

The new guidance from the CDC still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

In general, the CDC says people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

“If you are fully vaccinated against #COVID19, you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, incl. local business and workplace guidance,” the CDC tweeted Thursday.

People will still need to follow guidance at their workplace and local businesses.