Vaccinated People No Longer Need Masks — Except When Traveling as Only One of the Exceptions

People who are fully vaccinated may resume activities without wearing a mask or cloth covering for the nose and mouth — as well as physically distancing from other people — but you are still strongly advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States to take steps to protect yourself and others if you travel, as you will still be required to wear a mask while aboard airplanes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States; and in transportation hubs in the United States such as airports and stations as two of many examples.

Vaccinated People No Longer Need Masks — Except When Traveling as Only One of the Exceptions

Additionally, international travelers who are fully vaccinated and arriving in the United States are still required  to get tested within three days of their flight — or show documentation of recovery from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus during the past three months — and should still get tested between three days and five days after their trips.

Furthermore, you may still be required to wear masks or cloth covering for the nose and mouth — even if you are fully vaccinated — as stipulated by:

  • Federal laws, rules, and regulations
  • State laws, rules, and regulations
  • Local laws, rules, and regulations
  • Tribal laws, rules, and regulations
  • Territorial laws, rules, and regulations
  • Rules, and regulations of local businesses
  • Guidance at workplaces

What the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is Still Learning

At the time this article was written, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still learning how:

  • Effective the vaccines are against variants of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, as early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • Well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems — including people who take immunosuppressive medications.
  • Long vaccines for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus can protect people.


If you are a frequent traveler who is both an employee at a workplace and often patronizes businesses which still require that you wear a mask or cloth covering for your nose and mouth, the proclamation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier today may not mean much to you.

Interestingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released only within the past month a chart of choosing safer activities which people who are fully vaccinated are supposed to keep wearing their masks or cloth coverings for their noses and mouths for no fewer than ten activities.

I suppose that the aforementioned new directive which was released earlier today supersedes what seems to already be a chart with obsolete information…

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

16 thoughts on “Vaccinated People No Longer Need Masks — Except When Traveling as Only One of the Exceptions”

  1. Barry Graham says:

    This is one of the main reasons why the government should not have made a mask mandate for travel, because it could take a lot longer to lift it than it took to impose it. Also if the President is saying that masks are no longer needed, then this should be communicated to States and Local governments because as things stand where we live, it is still a requirement to wear masks indoors.

  2. derek says:

    Lifted too early. Too many people are unvaccinated and we know that unvaccinated people act like they are vaccinated.

    The 4th hump in number of cases is not fully finished. That’s another reason why it’s too early.

    When there is a 5th hump, there will be nothing that can be done. The CDC will look like liars for wanting masks then or they will let people die. What is wrong with Biden?

    1. Barry Graham says:

      I don’t agree with too much rhetoric coming from the White House but I do agree with this. I think it’s highly likely that an abundance of due diligence was done before this announcement was made, just as in the past.

    2. AlohaDaveKennedy says:

      Absolutely nothing – as leader of the party of the Jackass he has to look the part. Follow common sense – if you have elevated risk, keep the mask on as nobody is checking whether those without masks have been vaccinated. Like the annual flu vaccine, the COVID vaccine does not guarantee you will not get COVID and fully vaccinated people who then caught COVID have died.

      1. Barry Graham says:

        Where is your source for the last statement on your post? It’s not the message that the CDC is sending.

        1. ABC says:

          “Over 259 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through May 10, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 4,434 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. ”

          They were of course not all fully vaccinated (+14 days post 2nd). Did 4434 die from COVID or something else?

  3. Al says:

    So they finally had to admit out loud that the vaccines they’ve implored everyone to get actually work. Shocker! What a complete clown show the CDC has been. The pandemic has finally admitted the obvious: this pandemic is over. Anyone who wants to be vaccinated can be and anyone who is vaccinated have nothing to fear from those dreaded/evil anti-vaxers. Move on. (As for kids, data clearly shows any transmission of the virus from them is extremely rare and the covid has never come close to being as lethal to children as the seasonal flu has always been. Yet nobody ever considered masks or shutting down society because of kids dying from the seasonal flu. (Weird how some people are so dedicated to being only freaked out about whatever the media tells them to be freaked out about.)

    1. Barry Graham says:

      It’s still troubling that we are required to wear masks in planes where the risk of transmission was always very low even without masks.

      1. ABC says:

        I wouldn’t call it “troubling”. Still, what additional data are needed for the CDC to change that?

        1. Barry Graham says:

          It is troubling is you are one of the people that have to wear a mask for 10 hours for no apparently good reason.

  4. George says:

    I think 2020 will be the year most people realized
    a) 90% of the population, will do as it’s told – no matter what it’s told.
    If people had been instructed to wear plastic bags over their heads for a year, I am sure 90% would have done it without question.

    b) modern governments fail in a digital age. Now that information is out there, it was clear to see Covid was not a bit threat at all. Probably by April 2020, that was obvious in the data.

    Now that there is a year of data, and states/countries that didn’t lockdown – did the same (or better!) than states/countries that did… it’s really obvious that governments can’t lie like this anymore and expected educated citizens to go along.

    Which, sadly goes back to point A.
    90% citizens don’t go with science or data, they do as they are told, regardless.

    And that, is chilling for the future of a democratic world….

    1. Barry Graham says:

      Nicely said. We saw horrific examples of this in the 20th century.

      1. derek says:

        No, this was and is a lesson on how stupid people are, including with medical decisions.

        The CDC and Biden risks looking stupid and risks killing people. They have put themselves in a corner. They cannot later say “oh, start wearing masks again”.

        The big problem is not that masks don’t work. The big problem is people wearing flimsy masks and wearing them so poorly fitting that they are of only slight help. Then they lied and said “it’s to protect others, not yourself”. So why do hospital workers wear N95 masks? Because they work. The hospital near me later banned cloth masks for their workers and required surgical masks after the first few months when supplies shortages were fixed.

        The bottom line is N95 masks work. My current feeling is to get vaccinated and wear a surgical mask. Wear N95 masks in higher risk situations. A surgical masks is not uncomfortable.

        1. derek says:

          Rationale: if you get Covid-19, you could get brain fog. Very common. Less common is you die. Be a little patient and see if dumb people die first or if brain fog continues to be present. If they don’t die, then mask wearing behavior can be reassessed.

        2. Cartier says:

          That’s right, masks work to prevent spread, not your own infection.

          If everyone has one on, it’s far less likely that the virus gets transmitted to you. Healthcare workers have N95 masks because those *do* protect the wearer in situations like a hospital where people (patients) are more likely to be confirmed infected and can’t wear a mask due to receiving treatment.

          I disagree that a surgical mask is not uncomfortable though. I hate masks. I wear one because I understand that it’s necessary, and sometimes adults have to do things they don’t like because it’s the best thing for their community and country. The mask isn’t painful, but I hate stuff touching my face.

    2. Cartier says:

      A lot to unpack here.

      With all the information out there, it’s clear hat Covid *IS* (was?) a threat. Nearly 600,000 dead, and that’s with all of the restrictions in place. Seems like a real threat.

      The states that didn’t lockdown had two things going for them. First, they’re physically larger and don’t have as many people packed together, good for them. Second, they hit their surge once we had learned more about the virus and how to treat it. But to suggest that the only variable was doing nothing vs. doing something is misleading. And it’s not like they didn’t do anything either. I was in Houston this weekend, and they had mask requirements for all indoor areas.

      I also don’t think 90% of people will do what they’re told. That’s why there were so many issues with people *not* wearing masks. I agree that people shouldn’t do what the government says just because the government says it. Mandates to wear a mask, in concept, should be treated with a degree of skepticism, insofar as the idea that the government can tell you to physically put something on your body is concerning in a vacuum. However, in this case, that mandate passes the scrutiny required, and it should be followed.

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