Masks, Distancing Can Be Relaxed If You Are Vaccinated, EU Says

Social distancing rules and mask requirements can be relaxed for those who get vaccinated, the European Union’s agency for disease prevention said, adding to signs that an accelerated rollout of shots against the coronavirus can pave the way for a gradual return to normality.

When fully vaccinated individuals meet other fully vaccinated individuals, physical distancing and the wearing of face masks can be relaxed, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a set of guidelines published Wednesday. The rules can be relaxed even when vaccinated meet people who have still to get the shot, as long there are no risk factors for severe disease or lower vaccine effectiveness in anyone present.

The reasoning is that people who have received the vaccines have a very low risk of developing severe illness, while the risk of contracting the virus from someone who has been vaccinated is also low.

EU countries have been stranded in prolonged lockdowns amid persistent flare ups in infections across the continent. As the vaccination rollout gathers pace, the 27-nation bloc is working on measures to ease restrictions, including on travel, for those who have been inoculated, or recovered from the virus and thus considered immune, through the introduction of vaccine passports.

Masks, Distancing Can Be Relaxed If You Are Vaccinated, EU Says

The ECDC’s guidelines may offer additional justification for gradually relaxing measures for the ever increasing part of the population that gets the shots.

Requirements for testing and quarantine of travelers and regular testing at workplaces “can be waived or modified for fully vaccinated individuals as long as there is no or very low level circulation of immune escape variants,” the guidelines said.

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