The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has streamlined its guidelines regarding COVID-19, which will assist roofing companies in returning to a more normal state of operating.

The agency released updated guidelines on Aug. 11 that do away with quarantines for people who come into close contact with others infected with COVID-19. The guidelines also remove staying at least 6 feet away from others — known as social distancing — which was initially implemented to reduce exposure.

This means fewer disruptions in the workplace for roofing contractors. Previous guidelines recommended quarantining when exposed to someone with COVID, leading to workers having to stay home. Instead, people only need to quarantine if they test positive or show symptoms. Otherwise, they are encouraged to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days after exposure and get tested on day five.

The revised guidelines put an emphasis on people understanding the risks COVID poses to them and to take the proper precautions to protect themselves and others from catching and transmitting the virus.

“This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives,” said the CDC’s Greta Massetti, an epidemiologist and an author of the new guidelines.

The revised guidelines indicate how far the country has come from when the pandemic began roughly two-and-a-half years ago, when strict lockdowns and quarantines interrupted daily life, let alone how businesses could operate. Most of the population now has some form of protection against the virus, whether it’s vaccination or previous infection, the agency states. CDC data shows around 72% of the population ages 5 and up are fully vaccinated.

“We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools — like vaccination, boosters, and treatments — to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Massetti. “We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks, testing, and improved ventilation.”

Many communities and businesses have previously stopped requiring masks and social distancing, so the guidelines could be seen as an effort to meet people halfway by not disrupting work and school activities. Even so, the guidelines state that people who end isolation but have worsening COVID-19 symptoms should restart their isolation.

Some parts of the guidelines remain the same. Those who test positive for COVID, regardless of vaccination status, should isolate from others for a period of five days. People with moderate symptoms, like shortness of breath, and those with severe illness should stay home for at least 10 days. The CDC says a person can end isolation on day five if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and symptoms are improving, or if they never had symptoms.

The CDC is sticking to its COVID community levels metrics to determine when people should mask indoors. In those counties where the transmission level is “high,” people should wear high-quality masks indoors. The new guidelines suggest people use this, as well as ventilation factors, as an indicator for when to physically distance from others.

The CDC continues to promote the importance of being up to date with vaccination to protect against serious illness, hospitalization and death. As of Aug. 15, there have been 1.03 million deaths in the U.S. due to COVID.