Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie Sit Side-by-Side at Today After 15 Months amid New CDC Rules
"Six feet apart for about 15 months," Hoda Kotb said of sitting beside her Today co-anchor once again
Kotb, 56, and Guthrie, 49 — who have both been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — celebrated the close moment at the top of the morning talk show. "How long have we been waiting for this moment?" Guthrie questioned as she held onto Kotb's hand.
"We are doing it. We used to sit on these separate edges," Kotb said, pointing to both sides of their morning desk, before Guthrie added, "Six feet apart for about 15 months."
"Your breath smells minty fresh," Kotb then joked of the pair sitting near each other. "This feels really, really good."
Kotb and Guthrie's return to normalcy on the set of Today comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control said that Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can now be indoors or outdoors without masks or social distancing in most cases.
The announcement marks a major shift in public health guidance more than a year into the pandemic. The CDC, which had said last month that fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing masks outdoors in small groups, cited the strong protection from the vaccines and the steep decline in new COVID-19 cases in their announcement.
"The science is clear: If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic," the CDC said in a statement on Thursday.
Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on the new CDC guidelines.
In April, Kotb and Guthrie, along with fellow Today hosts Craig Melvin, Sheinelle Jones, Dylan Dreyer and Jenna Bush Hager, all received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during a live broadcast at N.Y.C.'s Rockefeller Plaza.
"The vaccine rollout is in full force — nearly 170 million doses given here in the U.S. so far," said Kotb at the time. "And we're about to add five more people to the count right now."
Later, in a celebratory Instagram post, Guthrie, wrote in part, "What a day, what a privilege — so grateful to receive the vaccine! Hoping this helps spread awareness and encourages others to do the same, so we can get back to life as we love it!"
Fully vaccinated people will still need to wear masks at the doctor, in hospitals or in long-term care facilities, and when on public transportation such as buses, planes or trains. They will also be required in transportation hubs such as airports or train stations, and in jails or homeless shelters. The CDC is also leaving the final decision on mask mandates to local and state governments, which can continue to require them for fully vaccinated individuals.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna's vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.