Costco, Walmart, and Trader Joe’s are among a number of US retailers that will no longer require customers to wear a face mask in their stores if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless state and local regulations still have mask rules in place, according to the Association For Convenience & Fuel Retailing (NACS).
Walmart employees who have been vaccinated will also have the option of foregoing masks starting tomorrow.
New CDC Guidance
In the US, the CDC issued new guidance last week indicating it is safe for fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most indoor and outdoor settings, with the exception of health-care facilities, public transportation, and certain other settings.
The CDC considers people fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
US retailer Walmart announced last week that employees in the US with proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 will no longer have to wear masks on their shifts, and customers who are fully vaccinated are welcome to shop without a face mask.
Walmart said it would align with city and state ordinances that continue to require face masks.
'We will be communicating with your local store, club or facility management team as regulations change so they can keep you informed,' the retailer said.
In addition, Walmart said vaccinated employees will receive $75 bonuses as a thank you for getting inoculated against COVID-19.
The new policy and bonuses apply to all current Walmart, Sam’s Club and supply chain associates, including those who work in stores, fulfilment centres, distribution centres, and offices, Walmart said.
Costco said that in locations 'where the state or local jurisdiction does not have a mask mandate, we will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield' but won’t require proof of vaccination.
However, the retailer continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield.
Trader Joe’s said customers who are fully vaccinated aren’t required to wear a face mask, except as required by local ordinances, but employees still must wear face masks, at least for the time being.
Other retailers are leaving their mask policies in place for now, including CVS, Kroger, Target, and Walgreens.