After spending a year and a half adjusting to ‘new normals’ and ‘pandemic fatigue,’ many of us are looking forward to a time when Covid restrictions can finally be lifted.
In recent weeks, some countries have shown us what life is like without masks, social distancing, or lockdowns.
There have been some hiccups on that road: Israel reinstituted its mask-wearing requirement after being one of the first to do so.
Other countries are also making progress in the right direction. Here are a few places that are returning to pre-pandemic living by going mask-free:
On May 13, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted the mask-wearing requirement for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
‘Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,’ said CDC director Rochelle Walensky.
Earlier this month, the Danish government announced that face masks would no longer be required (except while standing on public transport).
This move comes under a deal to relax lockdown rules, and after September 1 the country will also retire the face-mask requirement completely.
On June 24, Greece removed the requirement that people wear face masks outside, as well as relaxing other restrictions intended to curb Covid-19.
As infections have declined, wearing a face mask will remain mandatory indoors, but not outdoors – except in congested areas.
According to Iceland’s official pandemic website, COVID restrictions are not in effect as of June 26. Masks and social distancing are no longer mandatory. The number of attendees at gatherings has also been lifted.
During the last year, the North Atlantic country has fought the Covid-19 outbreak fairly well by testing and tracing the outbreak and instituting lockdown measures to limit infection spikes.
‘We are restoring the society we are used to living in and which we have longed for,’ Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir said on Friday.
The Spanish government has allowed people to ditch their face masks from June 26 onwards as per a new rule that lets people go mask-free outside if a safe distance of 1.5 meters can be maintained with people outside your closest social bubble,
It is mandatory to carry a face mask at all times in case social distancing cannot be maintained.
On June 17, the French capital rejoiced at the end of the protective mask requirement after the government announced that it would no longer be required.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the mandatory wearing of masks outdoors would be waived, citing advice from public health experts and ease in hospitalizations associated with Covid-19.
Masks, however, are still required in most workplaces, on public transport, and in outdoor settings where there are large crowds, such as stadiums.
7. South Korea
From July, those in South Korea vaccinated with at least one Covid-19 shot will be able to go outside without a mask.
In his statement, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum also said all quarantine measures would be adjusted as soon as 70 percent of residents have received their first dose.