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Vaccinated Americans can go to church, bars, cinemas and packed sports events WITHOUT masks

FULLY vaccinated Americans can go to church, bars, and packed sports events without a mask, according to new federal guidance issued on Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control announced a drastic easing in mask-wearing guidelines as President Joe Biden appeared maskless outside the White House to welcome the news.

The agency declared that two weeks after receiving their last Covid vaccine dose, Americans can return to life as it was before the pandemic.

It also issued a new template showing the safety levels for unvaccinated and vaccinated Americans in various locations.

The graphic lists vaccinated people as being safe to go maskless not only at outdoor gatherings but being able to abandon face coverings for a range of indoor activities.

It includes going to an indoor movie theater, singing in an indoor chorus, eating indoors at a bar or restaurant, or participating in an indoor, high intensity exercise.

Vaccinated Americans can also forgo masks to visit a barber or hair salon; an uncrowded, indoor shopping center or museum; or a full capacity indoor worship service.

Crowded outdoor events such as a concert, parade, or sports event will allow vaccinated Americans to leave their mask at home.

And they can also attend small outdoor gatherings with both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The CDC's advice differs greatly for those who have not yet received a vaccine.

Even wearing a mask, the agency advised that eating indoors at a restaurant, going to the movies, or attending church at full capacity would put them at risk.

They are also not considered safe from Covid while wearing a mask at a hair salon or at a small indoor gathering with multiple households.

Unvaccinated Americans should keep their masks on while dining outdoors with friends from multiple households; attending crowded outdoor events; and at small outdoor gatherings, the CDC advises.

The only places the CDC deems unvaccinated people to be free to remove their masks is while at small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated friends and family; and while running, walking, or biking with members of their own family.

The CDC had been criticized for its slow pace in rolling back the mask regulations, even as states began easing restrictions as vaccine distribution ramped up.

However, almost all mask restrictions were lifted on Thursday – as long as a person has been vaccinated.

"If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic," the CDC said in a statement.

"The science is clear: if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic."

"You can shed your masks," added CDC Director Rochelle Walensky during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The guidelines still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, trains, planes, prisons, and homeless shelters.

Masks will also still be required in healthcare settings.

Americans were advised that they will still need to follow regulations implemented by different local businesses and in various workplaces.

Biden, who for weeks has been criticized over his mixed messaging over mask-wearing, celebrated the new guidance as a "great milestone" and warned, "don’t bet against the American people."

"This is a great day for America," Biden said. "This has been made possible by the incredible success we've had by vaccinating so many Americans so quickly."

To date, Biden said his administration has given out 250 million shots in just the 114 days since he took office.

"And we're seeing the results," Biden said, adding that cases are down in 49 of the 50 US states, and deaths are down 80 percent – the lowest they've been since April 2020.

"As the virus tragically ravages in other countries, as other nations – even wealthy nations – are marred by the slow rollout of vaccines and other measures – as a result, things are very different here."

Vice President Kamala Harris also appeared alongside Biden and opted not to wear a mask.

Biden urged Americans to be "patient with one another", as it may take some longer than others to re-adjust to pre-pandemic normalcy.

"You know, some may say, 'I just feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask.' They may feel that way … please treat them with kindness and respect," Biden urged.

The president also said the government wouldn't start enforcing mask wearing for the unvaccinated.

"We're not going to go out and arrest people…I still believe the vast majority of the American people care about the safety of their neighbors and care about the safety of their families."

On Thursday, the CDC cited three studies – one from Israel and two from the US – that show the Covid vaccine protects against the spread.

It advised those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so immediately and urged those who are vaccinated but develop Covid symptoms to wear masks again and immediately get tested.

Those who come into contact with someone with Covid will not need to social distance or quarantine unless they also begin to show symptoms.

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