On May 13, 2021, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks indoors or outdoors. The announcement shocked many, as we've been wearing masks in grocery stores for over a year now. While the CDC has relaxed guidelines for vaccinated people, private businesses still have the opportunity to place their own mask policies (as we saw at the beginning of the pandemic).
Surprisingly, one of the first grocers updating its mask policy is Trader Joe's. According to a press release, the grocer is no longer requiring masks for vaccinated customers.
The original article from 8/16/2020 continues below:
The Coronavirus pandemic has been running rampant since the beginning of 2020. Just today over 63,000 new cases have been reported. In total, the US has confirmed 3.5 million cases and over 138,000 deaths. And it's only getting worse. Some states have mandated face coverings and masks to help slow the spread but with the national government (especially President Trump and Vice President Pence running around without facial coverings) continually questioning the CDC mask requirements, it's no wonder that national chains had to take things into their own hands and have started requiring masks.
Do Face Masks Work Against COVID-19?
At the beginning of the pandemic, health officials were unsure how the virus spread and if a cloth face covering would help slow the spread. Once health officials confirmed wearing a mask could help slow the spread, the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing face coverings in public. According to the CDC, "COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain." All you have to do is wear a cloth on your face and you can help keep your neighbors safe. It couldn't be easier.
That being said, there are also many Americans who are against the mask. In fact, some of these no-maskers have resorted to violence. Most recently an unmasked man in a Florida Walmart threatened to kill a masked shopper by pulling out a handgun. Be respectful and wear a mask or stay home and take advantage of online shopping. It's that simple.
All the National Chains Requiring Masks to Enter
This is the current list of retailers that are mandating masks to enter. In states where there is no government mandate, these major retailers are part of the solution.
Target's policy will go into effect Aug. 1, requiring everyone except those with medical conditions and children under two. Target will also be handing out disposable masks for those that come to the store without one.
News | With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country effective Monday, July 20. #COVID19
— CVS Pharmacy (@cvspharmacy) July 16, 2020
"With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country effective Monday, July 20," CVS said in a statement.
The Starbucks mask mandate went into effect July 15 at all company-owned Starbucks cafe locations. According to a company statement, "At select locations where a local government mandate is not in place, customers that may not be wearing a facial covering will have various options to order their Starbucks, including ordering at the drive-thru, curbside pickup through the Starbucks app or placing an order for delivery through Starbucks Delivers."
To best serve our communities and protect the health and safety of our shoppers and associates, face coverings will be required in all stores beginning Monday, July 20. For more on our decision and policy, please see here: https://t.co/r2ijRqslNP pic.twitter.com/pKYQCzk48l
— Walmart (@Walmart) July 15, 2020
To support the health of workers, Walmart, the largest retailer to apply mak mandates, is requiring all employees and customers to wear face coverings in all of its stores. The mandate is said to take effect on July 20.
Additionally, Sam's Club stores will be requiring face coverings for employees and customers starting July 20.
Costco Wholesale Club, one of the first major retailers to implement face-covering mandates, has been requiring face masks since early May to slow the spread of the virus.
Started July 15, Best Buy's mask mandate requires both customers and employees to wear face coverings.
Scheduled to begin Monday, July 20, Kohls will require all customers and staff to wear face coverings. "As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, face covering mandates have grown to apply to approximately 70% of our store base, therefore we've made the decision to take a consistent approach across our entire store fleet," Kohl's said in its statement.
The company has had a mask mandate in place since May. "Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don't bring their own," Apple said in a statement.
With the increase in #COVID19 cases across the country, we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus. Starting July 22, we will require all customers in all locations to wear a mask, joining our associates who continue to wear masks. pic.twitter.com/r9WPD3QNFa
— Kroger News (@KrogerNews) July 15, 2020
Starting July 22, All Kroger grocery stores will be requiring customers and staff to wear face coverings. The company stated, "With the increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus."
Implemented July 8, all Dollar Tree locations now require a mask to shop.
"With the number of coronavirus cases continuing to grow and current CDC guidance indicating face coverings can help slow the spread of COVID-19, we believe requiring face coverings in our stores is another way we can do our part to help protect our communities," spokeswoman Maria Brous said in the news release. Customers will be required to wear face masks starting Tuesday, July 21.
Since March, Trader Joe's has requested all customers wear a face covering while shopping in their stores.
"We are requesting that all customers wear masks while shopping in our stores to protect the health and safety of our team members and communities. Whole Foods Market will be providing face masks at the entrance of all stores for customers who do not have their own face covering," A statement on their website states.
Beginning Wednesday, July 15, Panera guests are asked to wear a mask inside our bakery-cafes nationwide, according to the Panera website.
Starting July 27, face coverings will be required to enter ALDI stores across the nation.
Starting July 20, Walgreens is expanding requirements for customers to wear face covers while in stores across all Walgreens locations chainwide according to a press release.