Americans who have been fully vaccinated are now allowed to meet each other indoors without wearing masks, under long-awaited guidelines released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The guidelines released on Monday said that those who have been fully vaccinated can safely gather indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without wearing masks.

Vaccinated people can come together in the same way with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren.

That will probably be a huge relief for older Americans, many of whom have been vaccinated but have gone months without visiting children, grandchildren or other relatives because of the pandemic.

The guidance is designed to address a growing demand, as more adults have been getting vaccinated and wondering if it gives them greater freedom to visit family members, travel or do other things like they did before Covid-19 swept the world last year.

“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.

The CDC is continuing to recommend that fully vaccinated people continue to wear well-fitted masks, avoid large gatherings and physically distance themselves from others when out in public.

The CDC also advised vaccinated people to get tested if they develop symptoms that could be related to Covid-19.

Officials say a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose. About 30 million Americans, or about 9% of the population, have been fully vaccinated with a federally authorized Covid-19 vaccine, according to the CDC.

Authorized vaccine doses became available in December, products that required two doses spaced weeks apart. But since January a growing number of Americans have been fully vaccinated.

Elsewhere on Monday, the White House said Joe Biden would deliver a primetime address on Thursday to mark one year since the start of pandemic lockdowns.

It will be Biden’s first primetime address since becoming president on 20 January. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Biden would use the speech to once again pay his respects to the more than 500,000 Americans who have died of coronavirus.

Biden will also probably tout his $1.9tn relief bill, which the Senate passed on Saturday. The House is expected to approve the bill on Tuesday and Biden could sign it as early as tomorrow night.

Psaki described the relief package as “one of the most consequential and most progressive pieces of legislation in American history”.

This content first appear on the guardian

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