People walk while wearing masks in Port Jefferson in October. Nearly...

People walk while wearing masks in Port Jefferson in October. Nearly half of Long Island residents are now fully vaccinated Credit: Morgan Campbell

More than 45% of Long Islanders are now fully vaccinated. So, what can you do now that you’re vaccinated that you couldn’t do before? And what won’t change?

There are some clear guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authorities. Other decisions depend on your comfort level or are case-by-case dependent.

Keep in mind you’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your last required dose, according to the CDC. So, you're good to go two weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson or two weeks after your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna.

*If you're still looking for a vaccine appointment, or are trying to help someone find one, check this guide for some resources. New Yorkers age 16 and older can walk in for their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment at state-run mass vaccination sites.

Current CDC recommendations

The CDC updated its guidance on May 13 for what you can do after being fully vaccinated. New York State is adopting the guidance, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

Some of the CDC recommendations include, if you’re fully vaccinated:

  • You can return to activities you did before the pandemic.
  • You don't have to wear a mask or social distance, except where it's required by federal, state, local, business or workplace rules.
  • You are still required to wear masks on public transportation including planes, buses and trains, and in transportation hubs.
  • You don’t have to quarantine or get tested if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, unless you have symptoms.
  • You do have to continue following guidance at workplaces and local businesses.

If you’re traveling while fully vaccinated:

  • You don’t need to take a COVID-19 test or self-quarantine before or after traveling within the United States.
  • You don't need to take a COVID-19 test before traveling internationally, unless your destination requires one.
  • You do need to show a negative test or proof of recovery of COVID-19 before traveling into the United States. The CDC also recommends you get tested three to five days after your trip. Your destination may have other requirements, so be sure to check before planning a trip.

See more examples of safe activities — and those that are less safe — in these charts from the CDC.

Your vaccination card

What do you do with your vaccination card after getting vaccinated?

  • Keep it in a safe place. You may also want to make a photocopy.
  • The CDC recommends taking a photo of the card after your final dose.
  • If you’ve lost your card, the CDC has guidance on what to do.
  • Here are some more answers to questions about the importance of the card.

A third shot?

  • The CEO of Pfizer said it’s "likely" you’ll need another dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 12 months of being fully vaccinated.
  • The makers of the two other shots authorized in the U.S. — Johnson & Johnson and Moderna — made similar predictions.

The Excelsior Pass

The state is offering the Excelsior Pass, a digital pass you can use to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test if a venue requires it. You can get one here:, and you can download the Excelsior Pass Wallet app to store it on your phone.

You can get a pass if you haven’t tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days and you meet one of the following, according to the state:

  • You’ve been fully vaccinated.
  • You had a negative PCR test result in the last three days.
  • You had a negative antigen test result in the last six hours.

Capacity guidelines

The state has lifted most capacity restrictions for businesses and institutions including retail, food services, gyms, fitness centers, hair salons and houses of worship. Those settings will still be required to maintain the social distancing requirement of six feet. Businesses can eliminate the required social distancing if all patrons there — or in a separate, designated part of the establishment — present proof of full vaccination. Here's a full breakdown of the recent changes.

  • The social gatherings limit is now 500 people outdoors and 250 indoors. The limit on outdoor residential gatherings is reverting to 500, with space appropriate for social distancing, and the limit for indoor residential gatherings is now at 50.
  • Indoor and outdoor graduation ceremonies will be permitted with different capacity limits and requirements for guests depending on the number of people in attendance. See the new guidance here and what some colleges on LI have planned.
  • Outdoor stadiums can operate at 33%. Large indoor arenas can have 30% capacity.
    • Fully vaccinated attendees who can be verified by the venue can sit next to each other at 100% capacity without social distancing in specially designated sections. Masks are optional.
    • Children under 16 who aren't vaccinated can sit with fully vaccinated adults.
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