ALABAMA, USA — Alabama's mask mandate expired April 9, but doctors say it's still not time to throw out your face masks.
So far, over 914,000 Alabamians have been fully vaccinated, but health officials say that number needs to be higher before we can ditch the masks.
"Currently we are using a two dose vaccine, so that means that there will be people that will not be fully vaccinated until two weeks after that second dose," said ADPH Assistance State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers. "It's very important to continue to take masking seriously."
Businesses and events no longer have to require masks in Alabama. Doctors recommend still wearing one any time you are in public whether you're inside or outside.
"If you're in situations with other people that are not vaccinated and you really cannot maintain your six feet of distance, certainly if you're in a situation where groups of people are close together, you really should wear your mask even though transmission outside is much lower," said Dr. Landers.
While it is safer to gather outdoors, doctors say putting on your face mask even if you're outside will just further protect you and those around you.
"Let's say for example you're less than six feet from someone, then certainly if you don't have on a mask and perhaps you're coughing or sneezing or singing or just talking loudly, then that person within your space will be able to breathe in respiratory droplets," said Dr. Landers.
If you are fully vaccinated and get together with a group of other fully vaccinated people, the CDC says you should be fine without a mask, but it is still recommended to wear one inside when visiting people at a high risk or if you're at a medium and large-sized gathering.
Click here for more CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people.
WATCH: Staffing shortages leaving restaurant employees in Huntsville overwhelmed