After spending more than a year wearing masks and social distancing, many Americans are eager to get back to their pre-pandemic “normal”. For some people, that may mean going back to sold-out concerts and sporting events, and for others, it simply means getting out of the house to grab a bite to eat with friends. Whatever your definition of “normal” is, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges everyone to get vaccinated so that COVID-19 restrictions can be a thing of the past.

Currently, nearly 40% of the US population is fully-vaccinated, and that percentage continues to grow each day. The CDC has been monitoring vaccination progress across the country, and has since decided to relax some of their COVID-19 guidelines for fully-vaccinated individuals. These relaxed guidelines for fully-vaccinated individuals include:

● No more masks or social distancing in public places, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

● No more COVID-19 testing or self-quarantine before or after domestic travel.

● No more COVID-19 testing or self-quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19.

The news of the relaxed CDC guidelines has allowed many major sports teams to expand their seating capacities in their stadiums, and in some cases, allow fans in their arenas for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. The Arizona Diamondbacks are allowing full attendance at Chase Field, and fully-vaccinated individuals are given the choice to wear a mask or not. In contrast, the Phoenix Suns continue to limit attendance at Talking Stick Resort Arena and require masks to be worn by all fans as the team begins its NBA playoff run. The two sports franchises are taking very different approaches to relaxing their COVID-19 restrictions, which is something to be mindful of before leaving the house without a mask.

As the pandemic slowly comes to an end, it is important to stay up to date with CDC, state, and local guidelines to help keep yourself and others safe. In order to help get back to “normal”, schedule an appointment to get your vaccination if you have not already done so. Before you know it, masks will be a thing of the past!