COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance loosened mask wearing recommendations for fully vaccinated Americans interacting with each other.

People who are fully vaccinated can safely gather together unmasked in small groups outside and dine outdoors to eat with people outside their households, according to the CDC.

But is it appropriate to ask those who you wish to gather with unmasked if they are vaccinated?

OhioHealth’s medical director of infectious diseases Dr. Joseph Gastaldo says yes.

“This is how I look at it: if you have a weakened immune system or you have a loved one with a weakened immune system, you have to advocate for their safety,” Dr. Gastaldo stated. “Nobody is going to be a better advocate than themselves or someone in their family or a loved one.”

You have a responsibility to advocate for vulnerable individuals.

Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, OhioHealth Medical Director of Infectious Diseases

Statewide, 41% of Ohioans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 33% are fully vaccinated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Vaccine appointments in central Ohio are readily available. Columbus Public Health, OhioHealth, Mount Carmel, and others are now offering no-appointment-needed walk-in or drive-up vaccines.