Arlington, VA

It’s safe for those who are fully vaccinated to skip wearing masks outside in most situations.

That’s according to new federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Biden announced the new guidelines Tuesday, as vaccinations continue at a quickening clip locally but are slowing nationally.

Walking down the street, running, laying on the beach, and dining or hanging out with small groups of people you know — all can now be maskless for the fully vaccinated. The only exception: you should still wear masks when among large outdoor crowds.

“Starting today, if you’re fully vaccinated and you’re outdoors… and not in a big crowd, you no longer need to wear a mask,” Biden said.

The new CDC guidance will not immediately change Covid restrictions in Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his administration are reportedly considering relaxing the state’s mask mandate, which requires wearing masks outdoors if you cannot maintain social distancing. The mandate generally exempts outdoor exercise.

In Ballston yesterday evening, plenty of people could still be seen walking down the sidewalk with masks on. While mask wearing in such a setting doesn’t hurt, it’s probably unnecessary if you’re fully vaccinated at this point, according to the new guidance.

When walking outdoors in a populated but uncrowded public setting, when will you feel comfortable going maskless?

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