PHOENIX - Four Arizona friends are all vaccinated against COVID-19 and now according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they can now safely all be together outside without a mask.
"It feels like a newfound freedom," a woman said. "It is absolutely wonderful. Haven’t seen a person from the family in a year and a half."
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced the updated guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outdoors in crowded settings.
The change comes after findings that show the odds of getting or giving the virus are very low out outdoors.
Dr. Ross Goldberg, former president of the Arizona Medical Association, says, "Not a big surprise. We saw this coming over time. It is the benefit of getting vaccinated. You can be freer and not as restricted."
This hopefully sends a message to some on the fence about getting the vaccine he says. "There should be benefits to being able to get vaccinated. We can start doing certain things. It is being mindful and smart."
For most of the past year, the CDC had been advising Americans to 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 the coronavirus vaccine, and more than a third have been fully vaccinated.
"Beginning today, gathering with a group of friends in a park, as long as you are vaccinated and outdoors, you can do it without a mask," Biden said in remarks after the new outdoor mask guidelines were shared.