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You and your friend got the COVID-19 vaccine. Is it OK to eat dinner together?

Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested the CDC will soon issue guidelines for what’s happening next in the pandemic

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A member of the Florida National Guard directs people waiting in line for the coronavirus vaccine at an outdoor vaccination site at Lakewood Ranch Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Bradenton, Fla.

A member of the Florida National Guard directs people waiting in line for the coronavirus vaccine at an outdoor vaccination site at Lakewood Ranch Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Bradenton, Fla. Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested that the CDC will soon issue guidelines for what’s happening next in the pandemic.

Chris O’Meara, Associated Press

We’re starting to see more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In some cases, our friends might even get the coronavirus vaccine. And there are plenty of cases where you and your friends have been vaccinated against the threatening virus. But the question remains — can you and your friends hang out and eat dinner together?

All eyes are turning to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert, to answer that question. Fauci has been a leading voice in the public health space since the pandemic. Many listen to his words. So does he think you can hang out with your friends?

It’s not completely clear. He spoke with “State of the Union” host Dana Bash about the vaccine’s impact on socializing, saying that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will begin issuing guidelines in the near future, according to Fox News. Those guidelines will have a better plan for how to reunite with the friends you haven’t seen since March 2020. But Fauci does have some advice for those who got the vaccine.

“But one of the things that I think is going to become clear is that if you have adults who are vaccinated — that are doubly vaccinated and protected — that you can do things we weren’t talking about before,” he said, according to Fox News.

And that means eating dinner together without masks. It means pulling back on some restrictions. “You can have dinner in a home without masks on. You can have friends who are doubly vaccinated and protected together with you,” he said. “So you can start doing things essentially in the home setting where you are not out in the community.”

Last week, Fauci had somewhat of a similar message, as I wrote about. Fauci hinted that people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine and are fully protected can socialize together. This means that if you and your friend got the vaccine — and both doses — then you’re good to socialize, he said. “You can start getting together as individual people, even though the risk is not zero, the risk becomes extremely low when you have both parties vaccinated,” Fauci said, per CNN.

“Even though it isn’t backed by data, it’s backed by common sense,” Fauci told CNN Thursday night, according to the New York Post.

This is a sign of what’s to come, he said. People can start to get together with their families once they know they’ve been vaccinated. The immunity to the virus will spread, which allows normality to return. “So we’re going to start seeing people saying, ‘Hey, the more people get vaccinated, I can have dinner with my family member that comes in,’” he said, according to the New York Post.

And that is a change from how things have been. We all remember the early days of the pandemic. We all know someone who hasn’t seen their grandparents in months, or who hasn’t introduced their girlfriend or boyfriend to their parents because of the pandemic. We put off Christmas and Thanksgiving plans because of the virus.

“Back before they were vaccinated, if they wanted to come to visit you, they would have to quarantine for a while, get tested, wear a mask,” Fauci said, per the New York Post.

Now, it’s different. Vaccination is key. Fauci said his family might even spend time together once everyone gets the vaccine, as I wrote about earlier.

“My professional judgment is that when my daughter wants to come in here and she’s doubly vaccinated, I’m going to have her over to the house and I’m going to give her a big hug that I haven’t been able to do for a year,“ he said, according to CNN.

But let’s fast forward to this past weekend. Fauci is still holding off from giving one clear recommendation for what people can do together. He has said the CDC will issue guidelines about that. We should wait for these guidelines for a better understanding of what’s coming.

“I’m not going to make a judgment about that because I don’t know that specific situation down here, but I can tell you that the CDC continually looks at things, and reevaluates,” Fauci said. “I don’t want to jump ahead of that because I need to see the specific situation.”

Listening to the science and using common sense seems to be the message from Fauci and the CDC. So that’s what you’ll need to consider next when deciding what to do with your vaccinated friends.