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California And LA County Say It's Cool To Keep Your Mask Off Outdoors If You're Fully Vaccinated

Image of people walking on the beach with their masks on.
Federal, state and local officials now say fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks outdoors, except in crowded settings.
(Apu Gomes
AFP via Getty Images)
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The federal government has relaxed its guidelines for when fully vaccinated people should wear masks in public.

Essentially, anyone who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely attend small outdoor gatherings without needing to wear a mask; California is following suit, as is L.A. County. Even going out to an event with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people is OK under the new guidance, as long as it doesn't get too crowded.

California's Department of Public Health issued a statement this afternoon saying that the state will update its own masking guidance to reflect those recommendations from the CDC.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist with UC San Francisco Medical Center, says the guidelines still recommend wearing a mask while indoors, because of the heightened risk for infection:

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"Indoor gatherings are 19 times more likely to spread COVID than outdoors, and, in fact, only 10% of outbreaks happen in the outdoor setting, as opposed to 90% indoors. And pretty much the bottom line is if you can control your environment, you have a very very low chance of becoming infected."
— Dr. Peter Ching-Hong