The only man I would trust to answer this question.

Courtesy of NYT:

As a health journalist, a physician and a former foreign correspondent who lived through SARS in Beijing, I often get questions from friends, colleagues and people I don’t even know about how to live during our current pandemic. Do I think it’s safe to plan a real wedding next June? Would I send my kids to school, with appropriate precautions? When will I trust a vaccine?

To the last question I always answer: When I see Tony Fauci take one.

Like many Americans, I take my signals from Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House task force on the coronavirus. When he told The Washington Post that he was not wiping down packages but just letting them sit for a couple of days, I started doing the same. In October he remarked that he was bringing shopping bags into the house. He just washes his hands after unpacking them. (Me too!)

The above guidelines are essentially the same ones that I follow as well.

The journalist, Elisabeth Rosenthal, asked Dr. Fauci a number of very interesting and I encourage you to click the link at the top of this page to read them, but the one question I was really interested in having answered was the one in the headline, when can we throw away our masks.  

And here was his answer:

I think that we’re going to have some degree of public health measures together with the vaccine for a considerable period of time. But we’ll start approaching normal — if the overwhelming majority of people take the vaccine — as we get into the third or fourth quarter [of 2021].

Now keep in mind the qualifiers that Fauci includes in his answer, including the majority of people taking the vaccine. 

To be honest I am unlikely to stop wearing my mask in indoor public spaces even after we achieve this goal. 

In fact, I may continue to wear a mask in public for the remainder of my life. 

The mask does not bother me that much, and to be honest, I have lost a lot of trust in people these last four years. 

At that time I will however spend maskless time with my family and give them plenty of hugs because that is something that I do not want to give up again.