The coronavirus pandemic is not over, but the CDC just released new guidelines that could make it more bearable.
On March 8, the Centers for Disease Control released new safety measures that give vaccinated grandparents permission to visit their grandchildren and allows vaccinated groups to gather indoors. Obviously, keep your mask on in public and practice social distancing—we don’t want to get too confident and cause another wave of infections—but with all that said, thank science!
“As more Americans are vaccinated, a growing body of evidence now tells us that there are some activities fully vaccinated people can do,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, acting director of the CDC, said during a White House COVID-19 briefing.
So yeah, grandma hugs are going to be a thing again, because vaccinated people can gather with a non-vaccinated bubble, like, say, a household or family, according to NBC News. Gather as in, indoors, no distancing, no masks. You can add a vaccinated pod to your non-vaccinated pod, though the CDC warns against exposing high-risk and “vulnerable” people who have not yet been vaccinated.
All of these guidelines apply to people who are “fully vaccinated,” meaning they’ve had both shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and waited two weeks to develop enough antibodies.
“This guidance represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities,” said the CDC in a statement. “For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19.” Healthy children have always been considered low-risk for developing severe symptoms, if they contract the virus at all.
Per NBC News, former CDC director Dr. Richard Besser mentioned hugs, specifically. “This opens the door for grandparents to meet with their children and grandchildren without masks, indoors, for a nice group hug,” he said.
The CDC also reiterated that everyone—vaccinated and not—should continue to practice pandemic safety measures in public and around high-risk individuals. That means wearing a face mask should still be a normal daily practice.