Many states have now embraced updated
guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or out in most situations.
But some cities and businesses still take a wait-and-see attitude amid questions of whether the new stand is safe or workable, given that there is no easy way to know who has been vaccinated and who hasn't. The guidelines essentially leave it up to people to do the right thing.
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.”
Want to do the right thing? Here's a new guide, "Mask Or Not?"
These national chains have relaxed mask rules for vaccinated customers
At Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, "vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask," according to a letter from Walmart executives, while unvaccinated shoppers are asked to keep wearing masks in stores.
Target released the following statement: "Given the CDC’s updated guidance, Target no longer requires fully vaccinated guests and team members to wear face coverings in our stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances. Face coverings continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores."
Sam's Club is following Walmart's policy that doesn't require masks of vaccinated customers.
"Facial coverings will be optional for vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, unless local regulations require them by law," the company said. However, its restrooms will continue to remain closed to customers in locations where café seating is unavailable.
At Costco, vaccinated customers can shop without masks in US locations where there are no state or local mask mandates.
At Trader Joe's, "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," the grocery chain said in a statement on its website.
Fully vaccinated associates and customers will not be required to wear face coverings at its grocery stores. "As a result of the recently updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, Publix will no longer require fully vaccinated associates or customers to wear face coverings, unless required by a state or local order or ordinance, beginning May 15," a company statement read.
Walt Disney World
The Florida theme park announced that masks and face coverings for guests are "optional in outdoor common areas" at Disney World. The exception being that guests "must wear face coverings from the entrances at all attractions, theaters or transportation and throughout those experiences," the company said. So that means if you're walking down Main Street, U.S.A., you don't have to wear a mask but if you're riding Space Mountain, you'll still have to.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort, a Disney competitor in Orlando that houses attractions from Harry Potter and Jurassic Park, also announced that it was updating its safety measures. Like Disney's new requirements, it says that masks are not "mandatory" while outdoors but are still "required in all indoor locations including shops and restaurants" and required at all attractions.
Home Depot Inc. updated its face mask policy, following the eased guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The home improvement retailer says customers and workers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks or facial coverings in its stores, except where it’s mandated by state or local ordinances. Masks are still encouraged for those who aren’t fully vaccinated.
Best Buy updated its mask policy with the following statement: "Fully vaccinated customers are no longer required to wear face coverings in our stores, except where otherwise mandated by state or local order. Instead, they will be available for any customer who wants one. ... Fully vaccinated employees will also no longer be required to wear a face covering, except where mandated by local or state order. Any employee who chooses to can still wear a mask, and they will continue to be made available to everyone. Employees working in customers’ homes will still be required to wear a face covering, even if fully vaccinated."
Kroger stores are allowing fully vaccinated customers go maskless beginning May 20. "If there is a state or local mandate, we will adhere to that requirement and its timeline,” a the company said in a news release. Customers and employees who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to continue wearing masks. Additionally, employees who work in the pharmacy and clinic locations will continue wearing masks.
These 11 charts show you vaccination and virus trends in our state and nation