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ATLANTA — After a long year of wearing facial masks to protect communities from the spread of Covid-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks in many indoor situations.

This new CDC guidance comes after more and more Americans have become fully vaccinated. It proves that vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases of Covid-19.

It is important to note that some tribal nations and states may lift mask requirements for vaccinated people, while others are still cautiously embracing the new CDC guidelines.

CDC guidance does not set rules or law set by governmental bodies, such as tribes, state and local municipalities. CDC guidance should be viewed as guidance generated through scientific research. Businesses can still set their own rules on whether or not masks are mandated.

On the Navajo Nation that served as the epicenter among all tribal nations during Covid-19 pandemic, tribal leaders are still mandating the wearing of facial masks.

“We are staying the course with our mask mandate here on the Navajo Nation. Everyone is still required to wear a mask in public, indoors and outdoors. We will continue to be very cautious and take careful steps to gradually lift restrictions once we see our vaccination numbers increase, but we need to do more to reach our goal of community immunity,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said on Thursday.

During the past year, the Navajo Nation has seen the flattening of the curve in new cases only to have them surge again after holidays and some family events, such as birthday parties and weddings. Because of that history, Navajo Nation leaders want to stay the course.

“Health care facilities on the Navajo Nation have begun to vaccinate adolescents within the 12-to-15-year age range on the Navajo Nation and many will be holding large scale drive-thru vaccination events on Saturday to provide more opportunities for families to get vaccinated. Our goal is to have at least 5,000 adolescents vaccinated by this weekend. Together, we have to continue pushing back on Covid-19 and getting vaccinated is a key part of that effort,” Nez said.

For those tribal communities and states that will begin to lift the mask requirements, the CDC guidelines are as follows:

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomaticRefrain from routine screening testing if feasible

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About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].