People who are fully vaccinated “can travel safely within the United States,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in new guidance issued today. Until now, the agency advised people to “delay” both domestic and international travel even if they had been vaccinated.
The CDC’s new recommendations also allow fully vaccinated travelers to avoid self-quarantine after traveling domestically. They can also skip COVID-19 tests before and after a trip, unless their destination requires it.
If traveling internationally, fully vaccinated people will still need to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to the US and upon arrival. But they won’t be required to self-quarantine. “International travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants,” the CDC said in its guidance.
The CDC also says fully vaccinated travelers should still wear a mask, wash their hands often, and maintain six feet of physical distance from other people.
Groups of fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks, the CDC announced last month. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second shot of the Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Even before the CDC made its announcement, airlines were already seeing an uptick in travel. By May, all US carriers will sell tickets for middle seats on flights again. Delta was the last holdout until it announced this week that it would end its policy of blocking those seats to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC, however, is still concerned that holiday travel this weekend may contribute to rising COVID-19 cases. Public health experts are asking people to keep up COVID-19 precautions and get vaccinated in an attempt to stop a fourth surge of the virus in the US.