WASHINGTON (KWWL) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.
The new guidance was announced Thursday at the White House. It will still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters, but could ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools.
The CDC will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, says the long-awaited change is thanks to millions of people getting vaccinated -- and based on the latest science about how well those shots are working.
"We have all longed for this moment -- when we can get back to some sense of normalcy," Dr. Walensky said.
The more people get vaccinated, the faster infections will drop, and the harder it will be for the coronavirus to mutate enough to escape vaccines, according to health experts.
This move comes as nearly half of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of vaccine and coronavirus cases are at their lowest rate since September. Also, deaths are at their lowest point since last April.
The CDC says if your immune system is compromised you will want to talk to your doctor about what to do.
Health officials say if you are not vaccinated you should get vaccinated right away but in the interim wear a mask because you are a risk to yourself and others.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
See the updated CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people here:When-Youve-Been-Fully-Vaccinated-_-CDC