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Gov. Jared Polis: Mask Requirements 'Don't Apply To Groups Of Vaccinated People In Colorado'

DENVER (CBS4) - The Centers for Disease Control issued new guidance Tuesday for people who are fully vaccinated about wearing face masks. Gov. Jared Polis said Colorado is ahead of the CDC's recommendations in many ways and health experts say loosening the restrictions is a promising sign about the direction the state is taking in its response to COVID-19.

An illustration photo taken on January 18, 2021 shows an FFP2 face mask in Salzburg, Austria, during the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. - Austria will extend its third lockdown at least until February 8, 2021 due to the variant of the coronavirus initially spotted in Britain, which is gaining ground, the government said on January 17, as discontent increases. Austria has decided to impose from January 25 a social distancing rule of two meters between each person in public places, instead of one meter until now. Wearing FFP2 masks will also become compulsory in stores and on public transport. (Photo by BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by BARBARA GINDL/APA/AFP via Getty Images)

"In Colorado, we've never had an outdoor masking requirement during this entire pandemic. A few communities have done that, those have largely ended a few weeks ago," Polis said during a news conference Tuesday. "We're ahead of the CDC on that."

The new CDC recommendations say fully vaccinated individuals can engage in the following activities without wearing masks:

  • Walking, running, hiking or biking outdoors alone or with members of their household
  • Attending small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends
  • Attending small outdoor gatherings with a mixture of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people
  • Dining at outdoor restaurants with friends from multiple households.

"Even the current mask requirements don't apply to groups of vaccinated people in Colorado, so if there's 10 or more people that aren't vaccinated, wear a mask, but if it's a dozen people and it's you know, three families, and they're all vaccinated, there is no mask wearing requirement in our state," Polis said.

Fully vaccinated people can also attend "a crowded, outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event," as long as they remain masked, according to a CDC infographic of the new guidelines.

(credit: Centers for Disease Control)

"The CDC is looking at all the great data behind the vaccines and how effective they are and is changing guidance in accordance with that," said Emma Waymire, the director of infection prevention for Presbyterian St. Luke's and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. "I think this is just super, super encouraging and I expect that we'll see more guidance coming out and really get back to doing more of the activities we enjoyed before the pandemic."

Both Waymire and the governor acknowledged that the CDC guidance could help convince more people to get the vaccine after learning about the change in lifestyle people enjoy after they are fully vaccinated.

"I think the reality is that we probably have several months of masking in some capacity ahead of us," Waymire said.

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