People are considered fully vaccinated by the CDC two weeks after the second dose or two weeks after the J&J dose.

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials say fully vaccinated Americans don't need to wear masks outdoors anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers. And unvaccinated people can drop face coverings in some cases, too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the updated guidance Tuesday.

"If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, or dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households, the science shows if you are vaccinated, you can do so safely unmasked," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during the virtual White House briefing.

People are considered fully vaccinated by the CDC two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The federal health agency says even if you've been vaccinated, you should avoid large indoor gatherings. For the fully vaccinated who do chose to attend a crowded outdoor event, wearing a mask is recommended.

Previously the CDC had been advising that people should wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet of each other.

The change comes as more than half of U.S. adults have gotten at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and more than a third have been fully vaccinated. 

KOMU 8 spoke with several local residents to get their reaction to the news. All of them were glad to hear about the new guidance.

"I don't think we need them outside myself. I feel more than comfortable outside without a mask," Linda Mongler said.

Mongler agreed with the CDC guidance about still using masks when in large crowds.

"I still will wear my mask in large crowds, even being vaccinated," she said.

Nick Hillyer is a graduate student at MU. He urges that relaxing the rules too quickly could cause problems.

"Just don't rush it. We've been in this over a year now. What's a couple more months if we can just get out of this and get finished with it?" he said.

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