In a major new pandemic-related ruling, America's national health agency is now saying that the masks can come off — provided you've been vaccinated.
At a media briefing on May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that vaccinated people can stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds, and inside in most situations.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that, based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on vaccines, and the agency's understanding of how the virus spreads, that masks and social distancing were no longer necessary for those who are fully vaccinated.
The agency still recommends wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters, whether you're vaccinated or not.
And those who are not vaccinated are required to still wear masks indoors.
What they did not say is how we'll all be able to figure out who is fully vaccinated and who is not. They need to start doing a tattoo.
According to ABC News, about 154 million Americans, or more than 46 percent of the population, have received at least one vaccine dose, and more than 117 million are fully vaccinated.
New vaccinations have slowed, but a second burst is anticipated now that Pfizer has authorized a vaccine for children ages 12 to 15.
This is a big flip from a CDC recommendation barely two weeks ago that vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds.
Removing the mask requirement represents a reward those who've gotten a vaccine.
"If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic," Walensky said.