USA health authorities said Thursday that people who have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus basically no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance.
"Just ran into [Michael Gwin] in the hall, both of us sans mask for the first time in the building - what a treat!" tweeted Peter Velz, an aid to Harris, referring to the White House's rapid response director.
"They will update all of their guidance, but they wanted to put the conclusion out there, recognizing that they're going to have to update the rest of the guidance, but they felt it was fair to the American public to say, hey if you've been vaccinated you don't need to wear a mask", he said.
The White House can order face masks be worn on federal property, but elsewhere it is up to state governors to decide.
He said the drop in Covid-19 cases, the evidence showing vaccines prevent the spread of coronavirus, and the fact that all Americans older than 12 are eligible for the vaccine allowed the CDC to feel comfortable making the change.
Target, Home Depot, CVS and Harris Teeter are among the chains that will continue to require masks in store, though they are reviewing new CDC guidance and reevaluating store policies. "We have all longed for this moment where we can get back to some sense of normalcy", Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press conference.
"It's the right thing to do for those around you who can't get vaccinated or who may be at higher risk".
The West Allis Farmers Market requires vendors to wear masks, and its website states masks are strongly recommended for customers.
"I think it's a great milestone, a great day", Biden said, speaking from the Rose Garden.
Vaccine supply problems in the US have eased, and it is easier than ever to get a shot, with many sites no longer needing to require appointments for doses.
"That's the reason I got the vaccine, I figured so I wouldn't have to wear a mask", Chapman said.
However, some chains say they are considering policy changes.
She commented on the CDC's guidance saying "I believe CDC is recognizing that many people are vaccinated already".
Walensky said the agency also will be updating all of its guidance - including for travel.