CARY, N.C. — Thousands of North Carolinians have now gotten their COVID-19 vaccine, and some say they're finally feeling a sense of normalcy returning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a list of new guidelines for people who have been fully vaccinated, including:

  • Being able to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without a mask
  • Gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without a mask
  • Not needing to stay home if you've been around someone with COVID-19 unless you're experiencing conditions

While they're still asking you to continue your "Three W's" when not in these settings, some people feel safe to leave their house for the first time since the pandemic hit.

Members of the Cary Newcomers group have been welcoming new people to the area for years, but many of their activities, including dinners, wine nights, and game nights were canceled when the pandemic hit. Many of them are over 65 and didn't feel comfortable leaving their homes, until now.

After getting the vaccine, Rita Kuhn, organizer of these events, finally feels comfortable creating small get togethers outside.

"People are happy to take their masks off; see each other in person. It's not the same as zoom," Kuhn says.

Some of the members hadn't left their home since the pandemic hit, like Linda Tracy. After getting her vaccine, she says getting out for the first time has rekindled her spirits.

"Just knowing it was going to happen has been joyous. Getting here and seeing it. We’re giving air hugs. It’s wonderful. Thats it, its wonderful!" Tracy emphasizes.