It’s time to start getting back to our normal lives.

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in a White House Covid-19 briefing. “We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

Dr. Walensky went on to cite three studies, one from Israel and two from the U.S., that showed that masks are not required for the fully vaccinated. She also says that masks and physical distancing are not required for indoor and outdoor events, no matter the amount of people.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published the Israeli study that stated the vaccine was 97% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 infection, and 86% effective against asymptomatic infection in over 5,000 health care workers.

Although there has been a small number of infections amidst 117 million fully vaccinated people, Dr. Walensky pointed out that “the resulting infection is more likely to have a lower viral load, maybe shorter in duration, and likely less risk of transmission to others.”

She warned that immune compromised people should consult with their doctors before going maskless, and that masks during travel are still required.

And while there are some vaccinated people who want to continue to wear masks, Covid-19 response leaders say that is OK.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an individual who has a certain level of risk aversion,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during the briefing. “As we know the risk is extremely low of getting infected whether you’re indoors or outdoors. But there are those people who don’t want to take that bit of a risk and there’s nothing wrong with that and they shouldn’t be criticized.”

A word of caution for those who still have not gotten their vaccines and want to mix and mingle maskless: YOU ARE STILL AT RISK! While no one can “prove” that you have been vaccinated when entering or exiting a business or other public space, you need to realize that you are not cheating them, you are cheating yourself. Your health should always be your #1 priority so, if you are not vaccinated, please wear your mask.