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Walmart, Target and Other Retailers Relax Mask Requirements for Shoppers

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UPDATE: CVS Pharmacy will also allow fully-vaccinated shoppers in-store without a mask as allowed by state and local regulations. Employees will still require face coverings while at work.

Walmart, Target, Costco and other retailers are relaxing their mask mandates for vaccinated shoppers after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidance letting fully vaccinated people resume most activities without masks. However, some retailers are still playing it safe — Walgreens has yet to lift their own mask requirements.

The new CDC advisory could change again if the number of COVID-19 cases spike, and unvaccinated people should still wear masks. However, the new guidance could offer relief for retailers looking to make shoppers feel more comfortable in-store.

Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club and Publix will no longer require vaccinated shoppers or associates to wear masks, while Costco specified only that vaccinated shoppers do not need masks. Trader Joe’s and Starbucks specified that shoppers don’t need masks but that associates will still require face coverings. Some local mandates still require masks for in-store shopping, and all retailers will still require masks for all shoppers in these areas.

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Additionally, Costco will still require everyone to wear masks in healthcare settings, including the pharmacy, optical and hearing aid departments. Walmart is reviewing whether certain health and sanitation jobs should retain the mask requirement.

“As before, our goal is to continue to provide a safe shopping environment for our members and guests and to provide a safe work environment for our employees, while following public health advice and applicable laws,” said Craig Jelinek, President and CEO of Costco in a statement.

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