The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks or engage in social distancing while outdoors or indoors. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky explained that except in a few special circumstances, vaccinated people can resume normal life completely.
"We have all longed for this moment," said Walensky during a media briefing.
The available data made it clear, Walensky said, that the vaccines are very effective at eliminating both illness and transmission of COVID-19, and that they have thus far tackled the variants with incredible success.
"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing," she said. "If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things you stopped doing because of the pandemic."
This news is long overdue, as it has been clear for weeks that the vaccines should be considered a ticket back to normality. The CDC has proceeded with extreme caution.
But that makes this declaration all the more important: If even the notoriously risk-averse CDC says the vaccinated can put away their masks, then there's no reason to keep local restrictions in place. If you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated; if you are vaccinated, do whatever you want. All government mandates should reflect this reality.