As Americans prepare for their second Memorial Day weekend under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s events may look like a return to normal with many restrictions easing due to the distribution of vaccines throughout the country.
With almost half of adults in America vaccinated against the virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky on Tuesday gave an optimistic outlook for events and gatherings over the holiday weekend.
“If you are vaccinated, you are protected, and you can enjoy your Memorial Day,” Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 briefing. “If you are not vaccinated, our guidance has not changed for you, you remain at risk of infection. You still need to mask and take other precautions.”
Read on to learn how this year’s restrictions will affect how Americans honor the men and women who died while in service to their country in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., lifted many of its coronavirus restrictions Monday ahead of Memorial Day.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President John F. Kennedy’s Gravesite will be fully open to visitors, the cemetery announced on Twitter.
In accordance with the latest CDC guideline, visitors who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear face masks outside. Face masks will still be required at all indoor venues, and visitors who are not vaccinated are still being asked to cover up and social distance.
Visitors will continue to be screened either inside or outside the Welcome Center, cemetery leaders said.
Veterans drive cars on the street May 27, 2019 during the 152nd Memorial Day Parade in Brooklyn.AFP via Getty Images
Many towns and cities across the country are looking forward to the return of Memorial Day parades this year.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said parades are a safe activity for people who are vaccinated for COVID-19 and unsafe for people who are not vaccinated.
The health agency also still recommends people wear face masks and social distance at large gatherings that have attendees from different households.
As the country continues to gradually open up, millions of Americans are expected to hit the roads on Memorial Day weekend.
Throughout the U.S., the federal mask mandate still extends through September across all transportation networks, including planes, buses, trains and transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
With face masks no longer required outdoors for fully vaccinated Americans, barbecues and other outdoor gatherings can make a comeback this Memorial Day weekend.Getty Images/iStockphoto
Barbecues / Outdoor gatherings
With face masks no longer required outdoors for fully vaccinated Americans, barbecues and other outdoor gatherings can make a comeback this Memorial Day weekend.
Those who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue to wear face masks and social distance.
However, state and local restrictions on masks, social distancing and the size of gatherings remain in effect.
Americans who have been fully vaccinated can gather with other fully vaccinated adults or children for small gatherings at a home or other private settings without a mask, according to the CDC.
In crowded indoor settings, the CDC still recommends everyone wear a mask and social distance.
State and local limits on how many people can gather indoors are still in effect.