The CDC Says These Are the "Least Safe" Places You're Going Right Now
Proceed with caution—and a mask—if you plan to go to any of these six spots.
At this time last year, many of us wouldn't have dared step foot in a restaurant. But after months of quarantine and a year of adapting to our new normal, some once-forbidden behaviors finally seem within reach, especially if you're fully vaccinated. And as of Tuesday, Apr. 27, nearly 97 million people fall into that category, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On Tuesday, the CDC released new guidance about what's safe to do and what's not, particularly as it relates to masks and vaccination status. According to the agency, fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors in most situations; however, the agency still advises that some places are less safe than others, mask or no mask.
A new chart from the CDC shows that walking, running, or biking outside with members of your household is considered safe, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Attending small, outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated friends and family is also OK. And although going to a barber or hair salon, an uncrowded indoor shopping center, riding public transportation with limited occupancy, and small gatherings with multiple households are considered "less safe" by the CDC's new guidelines, there are six others activities that have been categorized as the "least safe." Keep reading to find out where you should be wary and wear a mask, whether you're vaccinated or not. And for more on where COVID is still a problem, These 4 States Are Seeing the Worst COVID Surges Right Now.
An indoor movie theater
While each state's guidelines vary, the CEOs of four of the biggest movie theater chains in the U.S.—AMC, Cinemark, Marcus Theaters, and Regal—came together to instill a universal set of rules, under the name CinemaSafe. Because they're indoor spaces not known for having great ventilation, experts have long warned that movie theaters propose a risk.
To be as safe as possible, according to CineSafe's guidance, anyone who wishes to go to an indoor theater must wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines. Additionally, increased ventilation is advised and hand sanitizer should be easily accessible for visitors and workers.
On top of the CDC's guidelines, check out The 2 Places Dr. Fauci Still Won't Go After Vaccination.
A full-capacity worship service
Although the CDC urges against community gatherings indoors, anyone who must attend a worship meeting is advised to "consider temporarily limiting the sharing of frequently touched objects, such as worship aids, prayer rugs, prayer books, hymnals, religious texts and other bulletins, books, or other items passed or shared among congregants, and encouraging congregants to bring their own such items." Physical contact should also be limited, as well as buffet-style meals.
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Indoor chorus practice
The CDC recommends people "avoid shouting, cheering loudly, or singing" during events, particularly if they're indoors where COVID is more likely to spread. People are instead urged to clap, stomp their feet, or bring hand-held noisemakers to events.
And for more spots to skip, Dr. Fauci Says to Avoid This One Place, Even If You're Vaccinated.
An indoor restaurant or bar
Eating or drinking indoors is also considered one of the "least safe" activities. According to the CDC, "masks should be worn indoors and outdoors except when eating or drinking."
If you find yourself wanting to go out to eat, The CDC Says If You See This at a Restaurant, Don't Go Inside.
An indoor, high intensity exercise class
Although working out is essential for your well-being, doing it indoors in groups is still not advised. According to The Washington Post, 55 percent of 81 people who attended a Chicago gym in September tested positive for COVID. A CDC report later warned against exercising indoors without a mask. "To reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission in fitness facilities, attendees should wear a mask, including during high-intensity activities when less than 6 feet apart," the CDC suggests.
A crowded, outdoor event
Despite most outdoor activities being safe, crowded gatherings like parades, live performances, or sporting events are still warned against. Saskia Popescu, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of Arizona in Phoenix, told National Geographic that the risk of catching COVID outside isn't zero. "Outside is protective, but it's not a total risk eliminator," Popescu said in early April. "When we're seeing transmission outdoors, it's people who are close to each other, talking face to face."
And for more on which vaccinated people are still getting sick, check out The CDC Says People Who Get COVID After Vaccination Have This in Common.