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Health experts still urge closely following CDC guidelines for fully-vaccinated travelers

The CDC has changed some guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated, but traveling guidelines still remain largely the same.

ATLANTA — Millions of Georgians are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and as more people become fully vaccinated, some are getting anxious to travel.

But, health experts and the Centers for Disease Control are still cautioning travelers to be follow guidelines.

For Bob Greenwald, traveling the world has been his favorite part about retirement. But, that all came to a stop last year when the pandemic hit.

“We haven’t seen my wife’s mother in a year and a week. We haven’t seen my family in New York,” he said.

But things are taking a turn for Greenwald: he and his wife are both fully-vaccinated and are now planning to see other vaccinated relatives.

But, he understands the pandemic isn’t over, and guidelines are still in place.

“I guess I’m feeling a little YOLO but cautiously 'YOLO'”' he told 11Alive.

The CDC has changed some guidelines for those who have been fully-vaccinated, like: while they can gather with other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks, if they haven’t been vaccinated, the CDC recommends only meeting indoors with one other household. If you’re exposed to someone with COVID-19, quarantining and testing isn’t necessary unless you have symptoms.

However, the latest traveling guidelines say even if you are fully vaccinated, to:

  • get tested one to three days before the trip,
  • still follow mask and social distance guidelines, 
  • when you get back from your trip, get tested again three to five days after, and
  • self-quarantine for seven full days, even if you test negative

Dr. Cecil Bennett is a board certified family physician in metro Atlanta who’s been having these talks with patients.

He says the CDC guidelines are what people should follow right now.

“It’s really, really important as healthcare providers that we relay to our patients that we’re almost there," Bennett said. "I know it’s been a tough year but just stick it out for a few more months."

Greenwald said even though he plans to travel, safety is still the top priority.

“We want to have respect for other people, and try to keep them as safe as we can also,” he said.

Bennett said he still recommends only traveling if necessary, but if you must, he suggests the safest way to travel is by car.