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Fully vaccinated against COVID-19? Canada unveils new guidance on what you can, can’t do

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The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has released updated guidance for Canadians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The infographic was released on Friday and includes a list of dos and don’ts for Canadians who have received either one or two doses of the vaccine, as well as public health guidelines for both outdoor and indoor settings.

Dr. Howard Njoo, the country’s deputy chief public health officer, said there are “lots of factors at play” that differ from the guidelines previously outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than one month ago.

“The CDC guidance, it makes it seem straightforward: ‘Yes, I have made two vaccines. I can do whatever I want,'” he said. “We’re saying, ‘No, it’s much more nuanced than that.'”

Wondering what you can and can’t do? Here’s everything you need to know about the new rules.

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Fully vaccinated Canadians

What fully vaccinated Canadians can do outside is fairly clear-cut.

Canadians who have received both doses of the vaccine will no longer have to wear masks or physically distance when outside with small groups of people from multiple households — even if those people are unvaccinated. However, they’ll need to wait 14 days after their second shot to be considered fully protected.

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This includes hugs, camping with friends, small family barbecues, close contact sports, outdoor weddings and outdoor birthday parties.

Indoor gatherings, however, are a bit murkier.

Fully vaccinated Canadians can also spend time indoors with other fully vaccinated people. This includes a dinner with a small group of friends, watching sports events, and — of course — more hugs.

But PHAC is still urging fully vaccinated Canadians to consider wearing a mask, keeping two metres apart and following measures put in place by the event organizer or homeowner when it comes to indoor gatherings from multiple households with people who may be unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

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This includes private celebrations or ceremonies, indoor birthday parties, places of worship and the gym.

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The agency also recommends wearing a mask, following outlined measures put in place and maintaining physical distance for indoor and outdoor gatherings that include large crowds, such as concerts, sporting events and house parties.

The news comes after facing days of questions about what those who are double-dosed can do as the country’s vaccine campaign ramps up while hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases decline.

As of Friday afternoon, 76.5 per cent of eligible Canadians aged 12 and over had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 23.8 per cent of the population was fully vaccinated.

The numbers surpassed the federal government’s initial targets of having 75 per cent of Canadians aged 12-years and above vaccinated with at least one dose and 20 per cent fully vaccinated, in order to begin easing restrictions on public movement without overwhelming hospitals and ICUs again.

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For partially or unvaccinated Canadians

PHAC said partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Canadians can enjoy outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people, such as a small family barbecue, camping with friends or family, swimming at a lake and share hugs without masks or physical distancing — “if everyone is comfortable with that.”

They are also asked to wear a mask and practice physical distancing at outdoor gatherings, such as a child’s outdoor birthday party or outdoor wedding, with people from multiple households who may be either partially or unvaccinated.

When it comes to indoor gatherings such as a dinner with a small group of friends or watching a sporting event, Canadians who have either received one or zero doses are advised to consider flouting public health guidelines only “if everyone is comfortable with that, AND nobody is at risk of more severe disease or outcomes.”

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Canadians who are unvaccinated or have received one dose can attend indoor gatherings with people from different households who are also either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, such as an indoor party, celebratory ceremony, place of worship or gym. But they must “wear a mask and maintain physical distancing.”

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“Follow the measures put in place by the owner/organizer to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Keep windows and doors open, if possible,” the guidelines state.

Similar rules follow for bigger indoor or outdoor events where large crowds of people are gathering, like a concert, organized sporting event or house party.

Those who are not fully vaccinated are asked to “maintain physical distancing wherever possible” and “consider only attending events where there are safety plans in place that follow local public health advice.”

— With files from Global News’ Katie Dangerfield and the Canadian Press

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