The CDC officially announced that Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances, such as inside health care facilities and on public transportation. Statistics as of the end of May revealed that over 287 million total vaccines have been administered to Americans, and that number continues to climb each day.
The more Americans that get vaccinated, the sooner we can move past this pandemic and into a brighter future. Some states have fully reopened brick-and-mortar businesses with no more restrictions, while most states have plans to fully reopen within the next couple of months, depending on if COVID-19 cases continue to drop. For now, the majority of states are following CDC guidelines and allowing those who are fully vaccinated to no longer have to wear face masks while in public and indoor settings.
Face Mask Restrictions are Lifted
The states who are following the CDC guidelines on face masks include Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Vermont, and Wisconsin. These states allow businesses to choose to continue to enforce face masks for both employees and customers, and require masks in certain settings. Regardless of CDC guidelines, Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Texas have completely lifted mask mandates for all residents.
While face masks have not been completely lifted in the following states, they are strongly recommended in public spaces: Indiana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming. Pennsylvania is waiting for 70 percent of their population to be fully vaccinated before they completely lift mask restrictions. As more states continue to see a decline in cases, recommended facial coverings will soon be the norm.
Businesses Increasing Indoor Capacity
Among the states that have entirely lifted their indoor capacity for retail businesses include Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Even though not all states have completely lifted capacity limitations for retailers, the District of Columbia has increased capacity to 50 percent, Illinois has increased maximum capacity to 50 percent, Maine has increased to 75 percent, Michigan retailers can now operate at 50 percent capacity, Pennsylvania has increased to 75 percent, and Wisconsin businesses can operate at 25 percent. Indiana and Washington are creeping on the side of caution, with different capacity restrictions now in place in each county based on the severity of active COVID cases. California is looking to have the state fully reopened by June 15, if COVID cases continue to decrease, and Washington stores must operate at 50 percent until June 30.
Social Distancing Protocols Are Lifted
Delaware, Georgia, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin are among the only states that have completely lifted all social distancing restrictions. Businesses are still encouraged to be cautious about the spread of the virus by frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces.