Still, across the country, Americans were taking their first, awkward steps into a less-masked world.

John Doherty of Oswego, Ill., said he was eager for the mask-wearing era to end. On Friday, Mr. Doherty, who said he has gotten vaccinated, walked into a store without a mask to see how it would go.

“And they went, ‘Sir! You’ve got to put your mask on! This is private property!’” Mr. Doherty, 66, said. “I was like, ‘OK, OK.’”

On the other side of a counter, Eric Walliman, a librarian in Helena, said he hoped a bare-faced patron who walked in on Friday was vaccinated, but there was no way to know.

“It was strange,” said Mr. Walliman, who has gotten a vaccine but continues to wear a mask at work. “You wonder if he’s an anti-masker.”

The shifting guidance was a relief for some, especially those who had long been mask skeptics.

Marina Zaslavskaya, 34, a fitness instructor and college student in Massachusetts, said she resented mask mandates and was eager for them to end. As she lounged on the grass with her boyfriend in front of a public library in Cambridge, she said she never wore masks outside and, at times, had people yell at her.

“I think they should let us live our lives and be responsible for ourselves,” said Ms. Zaslavskaya, who said she planned to eventually get vaccinated.

But for some who had long followed federal mask guidance, the new suggestions meant a move toward normalcy. Dave Rubin, 66, said he was ready to start going out more without wearing a mask. But he was taking a cautious approach, especially at crowded places like movie theaters.

“I’m not going to run around 100 percent without my mask,” said Mr. Rubin, who lives in Orlando, Fla. “I’ll always have a mask in my pocket.”

Reporting was contributed by Jim Robbins from Helena, Mont., Kate Taylor from Cambridge, Mass., Edgar Sandoval from San Antonio, Sean Keenan from Atlanta, Deena Winter from Minneapolis, Benjamin Guggenheim from Los Angeles, Grace Gorenflo from Kansas City, Mo., Lauryn Higgins from Lincoln, Neb., Alison Saldanha from Chicago, Carly Stern from Winston-Salem, N.C., Dave Montgomery in Austin, Texas. Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio also contributed reporting.

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