A First Step Toward Returning to Normal

Last Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first set of recommendations on activities that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume. While holding medium- and large-sized in-person meetings and events is not on the list yet, the light at the end of the tunnel is brightening as the U.S. continues to work toward herd immunity from the coronavirus.

The new guidance includes recommendations for how and when a fully vaccinated individual can visit with other people who are fully vaccinated and with other people who are not vaccinated. This guidance represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities in our communities. The CDC will update these recommendations as more people are vaccinated, rates of COVID-19 in the community change and additional scientific evidence becomes available.

Those who are fully vaccinated may:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine. Although vaccinations are accelerating, the CDC estimates that just 9.2% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that the FDA has authorized for emergency use.

“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes. Everyone — even those who are vaccinated — should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings. As the science evolves and more people get vaccinated, we will continue to provide more guidance to help fully vaccinated people safely resume more activities.”

While the new guidance is a positive step, the vast majority of people need to be fully vaccinated before COVID-19 precautions can be lifted broadly. That’s when the meetings and events industry can really start hitting the pavement again. Until then, it is important that everyone continues to adhere to public health mitigation measures to protect the large number of people who remain unvaccinated.