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CDC new mask indoor guidelines: Which stores still require masks

These stores plan to keep requiring masks for now



Several major chains, including Target, Home Depot and grocer Kroger Co., announced that they would keep mask mandates in place for now.

WASHINGTON — While a number of states immediately embraced new guidelines from the CDC that say fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or out in most situations, some businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach. 

Labor groups and others warned that employees at stores, restaurants and other businesses could be left exposed to the coronavirus from customers and could be forced into the unwanted role of “vaccination police.”

The CDC guidance unveiled Thursday still calls for masks in crowded indoor settings such as airports, planes, buses, trains, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, and says people should obey local and state regulations.

Several major chains, including Target, Home Depot and grocer Kroger Co., announced that they would keep mask mandates in place for now.

Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s is one of the first major retailers to update their policies to no longer require fully vaccinated shoppers to wear masks. A spokesperson told The Washington Post that other COVID-related policies, like face masks for employees, would stay. 

“We encourage customers to follow the guidance of health officials, including, as appropriate, CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping,” an update to the COVID-19 policies listed on the Trader Joe’s website said. 

Which companies are keeping mask mandates

Target

In a statement Thursday night, the Minneapolis-based company said it “will continue to require all of our coronavirus safety measures in all stores, including masks and social distancing” while the company reviews the guidance from the CDC. 

Starbucks 

A representative for Starbucks told CNN they plan to keep their policy mandating customers and employees wear masks. 

CVS

A CVS spokesperson said in a statement that the company is “currently reevaluating its position on masks given the CDC’s new guidance.” The company said until that evaluation is complete, its existing policies on face masks will remain in effect. 

Costco

Costco announced that it will no longer require customers to wear masks at its locations where the state or local jurisdiction does not have a mask mandate, according to a letter posted online from Costco CEO Craig Jelinek. 

“We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy,” Jelinek wrote. He added that masks will however still be required in “heathcare settings, including Pharmacy, Optical, Hearing Aid.” 

While Costco is dropping the mask mandate for those stores, the company is still recommending “that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield.” 

Costco will continue to require masks in stores where there is a state or local mask mandate. 

Kroger

Kroger, which operates nearly 3,000 grocery stores around the U.S., confirmed to KING that it would be keeping its mask mandates for customers and workers for now. 

The company said it was reviewing the CDC’s latest guidance, reviewing safety practices and “soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy.”

Disney

On an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek described the new guidelines as “very big news” and hinted that there could be a change to the mask requirement at Disney parks in the near future.

“Particularly, if anybody’s been in Florida in the middle of summer with a mask on. That could be quite daunting,” Chapek said. “So we think that’s going to make for an even more pleasant experience.”

Home Depot

A spokesperson confirmed that Home Depot has not updated its mask policy at this time.

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter said Friday that at this time it will continue to require everyone in their stores to wear masks. 

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from our valued associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” the company statement said. 

Simon

Simon Property Group, which has shopping centers, malls and retail properties in 37 states and Puerto Rico, said Friday that it will continued to require employees, retailer employees and shoppers to wear masks, as well as provide free face coverings upon request. 

Meijer 

Meijer said in a statement on Friday that it was keeping its mask mandate in place for shoppers. 

“While we are aware of new CDC guidance, many state or local orders in the Meijer footprint remain in effect regarding masks. In order to help ensure the continued health and safety of all its team members and customers, Meijer continues to require face coverings by anyone entering a Meijer store or Meijer Express station at all locations, except where medical conditions prevent them from wearing one,” the company said. 

Which stores are dropping mask mandates?

Costco

Costco said Friday it will allow fully vaccinated members to shop without a mask, except in its Pharmacy, Optical and Hearing Aid sections. It will also follow state and local mandates, so stores in jurisdictions that require masks indoors will continue to enforce the rule. Costco says it won’t be asking for proof of vaccination.

Publix

Publix announced it would no longer require people to wear face masks indoors if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The grocery store chain said it made the change in response to new guidance from the CDC. The changes at Publix take effect May 15.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s says, effective immediately, it will no longer require customers to wear masks in its stores if they are fully vaccinated. In an email, Trader Joe’s said “We do not require proof of vaccination, as we trust our customers to follow CDC guidelines.” Employees at Trader Joe’s will still be required to wear masks.

Walmart

Walmart said Friday it will allow fully vaccinated customers at Walmart and Sam’s Club to shop without a mask, although it may update that rule for certain areas of the stores. It will also follow state and local mandates, so stores in jurisdictions that require masks indoors will continue to enforce the rule. Walmart says fully vaccinated employees will be able to stop wearing masks on May 18, but said workers have the choice to continue wearing one if they want.

The Associated Press and WTSP contributed to this report.





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