By Alyssa Walrad

So, you received one of the three authorized U.S. vaccines. It has been two weeks since receiving your Johnson & Johnson shot; or, two weeks after the second Pfizer or Moderna shot. What’s next? With guidelines changing seemingly daily, it can get confusing as to what is “allowed” again, along with understanding why certain guidelines are more lax than others. 

As of April 28, the CDC stated that anyone performing outdoor activities “poses minimal risk to vaccinated people” or to “those around them.” Though the rate of transmission was far lower when being outdoors, those who are fully vaccinated don’t have to wear a mask as long as the venue or occasion does not call for intense crowds. Below are examples of such activities a fully vaccinated person can do without a mask or necessary social distancing:

  • Attend an outdoor gathering with other fully vaccinated family and friends.
  • Dine at restaurants outdoors with friends outside of your bubble.
  • Exercise outside with other members of your bubble or household. 

This almost juxtaposes guidelines about attending large gatherings like concerts or even crowded, outdoor venues that are still requiring masks and social distancing, regardless if you are vaccinated or not. According to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, “a few people from different households at an outdoor barbeque poses a much lower risk than a few hundred people at a packed concert.” Though these guidelines are more so suggestions to universally decrease transmission rates, it is important to also follow local community guidelines. Currently, as of May 1, Orange County has had over 47,000 positive cases of COVID-19. Reopening guidelines have sparked debate among politicians, with Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio bickering about the reopening date for businesses. DeBlasio stated Sunday that by “July 1, all businesses in NYC will reopen with no restrictions.” This comes shortly before Cuomo’s briefing, creating further animosity between the two foes. Yet, despite this quarrel, both officials want to reopen NYS as soon as possible, within reason. 

Though the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, with all being at least 65% effective or higher, there is no guarantee that one may be fully protected against the novel coronavirus. Breakthrough cases continue to defy scientific odds, with about 7,517 positive COVID-19 cases among 87 million fully vaccinated people worldwide. In order to have any sense of normalcy once again, it is crucial to gain clarity and seek out informational resources that provide the facts about the pandemic guidelines to lessen transmission rates and eligibility of the vaccine. 

The world seems to be opening up and gaining normalcy, however it is important to note that all indoor spaces still require you to wear a mask and social distance, regardless of your vaccination status. Additionally, using judgement when interacting with anyone is key in the continuous fight of the pandemic. The CDC recommends that “fully vaccinated people should be especially cautious if visiting anyone who is at high risk of developing severe COVID-19” and continue to take precautions as variants become more widespread.