CDC changes mask recommendations: Here's what Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana are doing

Sarah Brookbank
Cincinnati Enquirer

If you're vaccinated, it's time to ditch the mask.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated Americans can discard masks and the need for social distancing outdoors and in most indoor settings.

The new guidelines announced by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, represent a major step toward a return to normalcy for a nation battered and at times divided by a pandemic that has lasted more than a year.

More:At least 8 states lift mask mandates; teachers unions call for reopening all schools this fall

Here's what you need to know:

When can I lose the mask?

"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,'' Walensky said. "If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.''

In addition, the agency will no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds, possibly allowing for bigger capacities at sporting events.

Who qualifies as vaccinated?

A person is considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus two weeks after getting the second Pfizer or Moderna shot or the same length of time after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

More:What COVID-19 restrictions are still in place in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana?

When should I wear a mask?

CDC guidelines say fully vaccinated people must still wear a mask in health care settings, transportation hubs such as airports and stations, and public transportation.

That includes planes, buses and trains traveling into, within or outside of the U.S. as part of a federal mask mandate that was extended to Sept. 13. 

The agency also said fully vaccinated people must wear a mask or socially distance in places required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Will some places still require masks?

Yes, local businesses could choose to have customers wear masks. 

The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport will still require masks, as will Kroger stores. 

In a statement, the company said at this time the Kroger Family of Companies continues to require everyone to wear masks.

"We appreciate Governor DeWine’s thoughtful approach to distancing and mask restrictions that acknowledge businesses' need for continued flexibility to implement safety protocols," read the statement. 

The company said it is reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of its policy.

Kings Island will not require masks outside in the park. 

More:Some Cincinnati grocery stores are lifting mask requirements. Here's what we know.

What does this mean in Ohio?

Vaccinated Ohioans will no longer need to wear masks under state health orders that will be revised to align with guidance from the CDC.

The orders will still require masks and social distancing for people who have not been vaccinated, Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement.

The actual orders weren't available Friday afternoon, but DeWine said they will still require masks in health care settings, while traveling on public transportation including airplanes and when they are in a business that chooses to require masks.

The revised order will stay in place until June 2, when remaining health orders that don't apply to long-term care or data collection will be lifted.

“The vaccine is here. It's stronger and better than medical experts ever imagined,” DeWine said during a speech Wednesday. “Everyone can now control their own health. Everyone can now control their own destiny.”

More:Ohio will lift mask mandate, all COVID-19 health orders June 2

What does this mean in Kentucky?

Kentucky's mask mandate will end June 11.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday that events and venues can resume 100% capacity on June 11.

The one-month delay in lifting restrictions is so that there is enough time for children between ages 12 and 15 to get vaccinated, Beshear said.

“After a long, dark pandemic, more of our people have gotten their shot of hope, and we have steadily moved to lift the last remaining restrictions put in place to slow the spread of this dangerous virus and save lives,” Beshear said. "Team Kentucky: your patience, hard work and sacrifices have paid off. For those not vaccinated: you have still have time."

Beshear encouraged Kentuckians who haven't gotten their "shot of hope" to make a plan to be vaccinated at

More:Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announces date for end of mask mandate

What does this mean in Indiana?

Not much will change for Hoosiers, as their statewide mask mandate and restrictions on business customer capacity ended April 6.

However, Marion County health officials reiterated that the mask mandate remains in effect at this time for the county that includes Indianapolis. 

More:Can an employer require a COVID-19 vaccine? What to know

Vaccination rates by state

In Ohio, 42.05% of the population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

In Kentucky, 43% of the population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

In Indiana, 38.3% of the population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

USA TODAY and the Courier-Journal contributed to this article.