Fully Vaccinated & Masks: What are the Rules?
You rolled up your sleeve and are fully vaccinated—congratulations! Getting vaccinated gives you control because even if you are exposed, your body will be ready to fight and it’s very unlikely you’ll get sick. It also means there are certain things you can do more safely. Let’s take a look at what being fully vaccinated means and when you can go without a mask.
When am I fully vaccinated?
No matter which of the three vaccine brands you get, they all teach your immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus as something harmful to your body and to fight it if you are exposed.
You are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two weeks after receiving your single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Gathering with others without masks or distancing
Your comfort may vary, but per our current public health order, people who are fully vaccinated don’t need to keep six feet distance or wear a mask in certain situations:
- When outdoors or in an enclosed space where everyone in the space is fully vaccinated.
- When outdoors or in an enclosed space with people from a single household who aren’t fully vaccinated and they and anyone they live with aren’t at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, as defined by the CDC. In this situation, the number of fully vaccinated individuals in the group doesn’t matter. The main point is that there can only be people from one single household in the group that are not fully vaccinated and no one in that household is at an increased risk.
Masks are not required for anyone in an outdoor setting, though we recommend folks mask up if they are going to be in large groups where they can’t maintain distancing.
One of the most frequent questions we get is what someone who is fully vaccinated needs to do when out in public or at work:
Out in Public
When in indoor spaces out in public, such as the grocery store, pharmacy, or other business, masks are required for nearly everyone aged five and older, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not (unless a person meets an exception or exemption in the order). As stated above, masks are not required for anyone in an outdoor setting, though we recommend folks mask up if they are going to be in large groups where they can’t maintain distancing.
Businesses can create enclosed spaces that are for people who are fully vaccinated where masks and distancing are not required. For example, if a yoga studio can confirm someone is fully vaccinated, they can host a class for fully vaccinated people where masks and distancing are not required.
Masks are required in any space accessible to the public, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. For example, if you work at a business open to customers or you provide community services where people from the general public can walk-in, masks are required in those spaces.
If you have a fully enclosed space that is not accessible to customers or the public, like a break room, locker room, or private office, masks aren’t required by public health orders if everyone within the space is fully vaccinated. Keep in mind your employer might have stricter rules. Ask your employer about their policy or suggest one be developed.
Employers should be mindful of how they ask for an employee’s vaccination status and proof of vaccination to ensure they are not violating disability or employment laws.
As always, if your employer is not following the current public health order, let us know so we can follow-up.
Getting to go mask-free in certain situations is just one of many benefits of getting vaccinated! There are lots of easy opportunities to get vaccinated, including making an appointment or dropping-in to our Alliant Energy Center vaccination site. The sooner you’re vaccinated, the sooner you can get back to the things you’ve been missing!