[Image description: A father teaches his daughter to ride a bike.]
This summer promises to be far better than last, thanks to effective, widely available vaccines against COVID-19 and improved knowledge of how the virus spreads. So, enjoy the warm weather, the water activities and all the fun the season has to offer — and keep these COVID-prevention guidelines in mind.
Guidelines differ by vaccination status
You’re fully vaccinated if you had your single-shot COVID-19 vaccine or your second shot of a two-shot vaccine at least two weeks ago. The CDC says that, in general, vaccinated people can return to pre-pandemic activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet away from others — except where required by law, a workplace or local business.
If you’re unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated, preventive measures are still recommended – including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
What this means for specific summer activities:
Travel in the U.S.
Everyone: Masks are still required on U.S. public transportation, regardless of your vaccination status. That includes planes, trains and buses as well as airports and stations.
Fully vaccinated: You can travel within the U.S. without getting tested or self-quarantining.
Unvaccinated: Travel is still not recommended — but if you must travel, follow these guidelines:
- Get tested 1-3 days before you leave.
- Wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others not in your group and wash your hands often or use sanitizer.
- Get tested 3-5 days after returning, and self-quarantine at home for 7 days after returning — even if your test result is negative.
- If you don’t get tested, self-quarantine for 10 days after returning.
Travel to other countries
- Check COVID-19 risk levels as well as the travel, testing and quarantining requirements for your destination.
- Get tested within 3 days before your return flight to the U.S. You must have a negative test result (or documentation that you’ve recovered from COVID-19 within the past 3 months) in order to board.
- Get tested 3-5 days after returning.
Fully vaccinated: Follow all local recommendations for masking and social distancing while at your destination. You don’t have to self-quarantine after your return.
Unvaccinated: The CDC recommends you do not travel internationally until you’re fully vaccinated. If you must travel, wear a mask and practice social distancing while at your destination. When you return, follow the same guidelines for self-quarantine and testing as for travel in the U.S.
Summer camp for kids
Attending summer camp can have great benefits for children’s social, emotional and physical health. For camps where everyone is fully vaccinated, the CDC has said no masks or physical distancing are required and the camps may return to full capacity. For camps where not everyone is vaccinated, the CDC recommends these prevention strategies:
- Encouraging all eligible staff and campers to get vaccinated.
- Encouraging all campers, staff and visitors who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks, especially while indoors; camps may choose to require everyone to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
- Having unvaccinated campers and staff eat their meals outdoors if possible, or in a well-ventilated space that allows for physical distancing.
- Organizing campers and staff into “pods” that stay together throughout the day, minimizing contact with others.
- Promoting physical distancing among unvaccinated campers and staff – both indoors and outdoors, including on buses or other transportation.
Outdoor spaces and events
Everyone: Without wearing a mask or social distancing, you can:
- Engage in outdoor activities like walking, running and cycling with people you live with.
- Be part of a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends.
Fully vaccinated: Without wearing a mask or social distancing, you can:
- Eat at outdoor restaurants with people from multiple households.
- Enjoy beaches, public pools, parks and recreational facilities.
- Attend crowded outdoor concerts, parades and other events.
- The CDC recommends you wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from others if you’re eating at an outdoor restaurant with people from multiple households or attending a small outdoor gathering with both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
- Maintain distance while you’re at the beach, public pool, park or recreational facility. If you can’t keep 6 feet away from people you don’t live with, then wear a mask — except when you’re swimming.
- Attending crowded outdoor events is among the least safe activities; you may not be able to maintain distance. Consider the risks to you and your family before deciding whether to attend, and wear a mask if you do.
Fully vaccinated: You can eat at an indoor restaurant, see a summer blockbuster in a movie theater, and visit museums and other indoor attractions without wearing a mask or social distancing.
Unvaccinated: If you’re visiting indoor spaces such as museums or shopping centers, choose uncrowded times and locations, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Movie theaters and indoor restaurants are still among the least safe activities for people who aren’t vaccinated, so consider the risks to you and your family before deciding whether to visit them. If you go, wear a mask and keep 6 feet away from people not in your group.
Finally, whether or not you are vaccinated, be on the lookout for COVID-19 symptoms — which can include fever, chills, cough, fatigue and shortness of breath — especially if you’ve been near someone who’s been sick. If you have symptoms you think could be COVID-19, a doctor on LiveHealth Online doctor can help you learn what steps to take.