On Monday, March 8, the Centers for Disease Control issued a new guidance document with recommendations for individuals who have been fully vaccinated (two weeks or more after getting the second dose). This provides general guidance from the federal government, but does NOT override any Pennsylvania-specific orders that are currently in place.
It’s valuable to understand the broad outlines of this guidance as a preview to potential changes that may be coming to Pennsylvania, but Realtors® (and their clients) should not change anything up just yet given that as of March 7, only about 8% of Pennsylvanians have received both doses (meaning that even fewer are “fully vaccinated”) – tied for 48th in the country.
The biggest change in the latest guidance is that it suggests there may be some circumstances in which fully vaccinated individuals can interact with others using fewer health and safety precautions. But there are many qualifiers.
First, the changes apply primarily to “visiting with others in private settings.” For example, the guidance gives new suggestions on interactions that might occur between family members or friends in a private home, but does NOT suggest any changes to the precautions that should be used during “personal or social activities outside the home.” Notably, there is no specific language referencing business-type interactions, but it does note that everyone should follow “any applicable workplace or school guidance” in their activities. As noted above, this would mean that any state-specific orders related to business mitigation efforts would still be in place unless and until modified by the state.
Next, the guidance is predicated on the idea that while the risks to fully vaccinated individuals are considerably lower, it still appears possible for someone who has been vaccinated to transmit the virus to others. Therefore, the recommendation is that those who are fully vaccinated can interact with each other privately in small group settings without masks and physical distancing, but that interactions with unvaccinated individuals should be based on the risk factors of those who are unvaccinated.
For example, interactions between a vaccinated grandmother and her healthy, unvaccinated daughter and grandchildren could occur without additional precautions. But if the daughter or grandchildren have any additional risk factors, then any interactions should still utilize the standard precautions (masks, physical distancing, etc.) to protect the most at-risk people in the room.
Finally, the guidance suggests that any interactions outside of these one-on-one(ish) in-home personal visits should continue to utilize typical precautions. For example, if the above visit takes place at a restaurant instead of in the daughter’s home, everyone needs to wear masks, etc. Similarly, the fully vaccinated grandmother hosts three of her children (who live in their own homes) for her birthday party, all precautions should be taken because the transmission risks rise when multiple households are involved.
Once again: this is general guidance from the CDC and does not override any business-related orders currently in place in Pennsylvania. PAR is not making any changes to our suggested best practices at this time, and will not examine doing so until there is additional guidance from the state.