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CDC: Vaccinated People Can Gather In Small Crowds Without Masks

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released highly-anticipated guidance saying people who've been fully vaccinated can now spend time together indoors and unmasked. They can also visit with low-risk individuals from other households who haven't been vaccinated.

But masks are still being advised for everyone in crowded spaces.

It might be time to plan a family reunion. The new CDC guidance is aimed at people who've been fully vaccinated, meaning two weeks have passed since receiving the final dose. 

And for them, there's a new normal.

"We've begun to describe what a world looks like where we move beyond COVID-19," said Andy Slavitt, White House Senior Adviser on the COVID-19 Response.

The White House Task Force revealed the new CDC guidance on how people can safely begin to interact again.

"Fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or physical distancing," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

But only 9% of the country is fully vaccinated, so what about interactions between people who have and haven't received a shot?

The CDC says people who are fully vaccinated can visit indoors with an unvaccinated person from one other household, who are not at high-risk for COVID, and they don't have to wear masks or practice social distancing.

"There is still a small risk that vaccinated people could become infected with milder or asymptomatic disease and potentially even transmit the virus to others who are not vaccinated," Dr. Walensky said.

It's of special concern for senior citizens who have not been able to see loved ones, like those in Northeast Philadelphia who received their vaccinations on Monday on Rising Sun Avenue.

Under the new recommendation, a vaccinated grandparent can safely be with an unvaccinated family member as long as no one is at high risk for COVID.

"They want to be able to show love to their family members and we're doing our part to begin that process," said State Rep. Jared Solomon.

The new CDC guidance also says fully vaccinated people who are exposed to COVID-19 do not have to quarantine or receive testing as long as they're asymptomatic.

But the CDC is still advising against non-essential travel even for people who are vaccinated.

The CDC says it's remaining extra cautious about travel because of the COVID variants that are spreading and there are growing concerns about increased travel related to spring break.

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