Shopping for a new outfit or enjoying a cup of coffee outside of one's home is about to start resembling life before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surprised corporate America (and reportedly President Joe Biden) by saying those who are fully vaccinated are allowed to go maskless in most places. That includes indoors.
The CDC has put America's biggest companies in a tough spot seeing as the decision does not override state and local rules on masks. So, it's either companies say masks could be removed in their stores or stay with protocols enacted during the pandemic and risk upsetting customers (among other unfortunate byproducts of the highly politicized mask issue).
Nonetheless, some of the country's most well-known retailers have stepped up quickly to change their stances on masks following the CDC's decision. Yahoo Finance takes a quick look at the most prominent retailers.
Target said Monday that it "will no longer require fully vaccinate guests and team members to wear face coverings in its stores, except where it's required by local ordinances." The retailer added that it still recommends face coverings for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated.
Running around a Costco store in search of big deals will be a touch easier starting immediately.
In Costco 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. We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy. Face coverings will still be required in health care settings, including Pharmacy, Optical, Hearing Aid. Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield," Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said in a blog post.
Jelinek added, "In those Costco locations where the state or local jurisdiction does have a mask mandate, we will follow the state or local regulations and continue to require members and guests to wear a face mask or face shield. Children under the age of 2 are exempt. If a member or guest has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they must wear a face shield."
The world's largest retailer is easing mask-wearing restrictions for employees and shoppers immediately.
"Unvaccinated associates must still wear face coverings, per CDC guidance. We are also reviewing whether masks may still be required for certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes and will share additional guidance soon. Some associates may choose to continue to wear masks, and as part of our value of respect for the individual we should all support their right to do so," Walmart said in a blog post.
The company is giving U.S. field associates who get vaccinated a $75 bonus.
Continued Walmart, "Vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask, and we will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in our stores and clubs. We will update the signage in our facilities to reflect this. Masks will also continue to be required by some city and state ordinances, and we will follow those requirements. There may also be local conditions, regulatory changes or laws that affect our guidance. We will be communicating with your local store, club or facility management team as regulations change so they can keep you informed."
In a new post on its website (which has since been pulled down), the grocery store chain, with more than 500 stores in the U.S., said it would no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear masks inside of its stores. Employees must still wear a mask, however.
Enjoying a $6 coffee (or more) inside a Starbucks soon won't require a mask.
"It is our responsibility to protect our partners and customers, and we are committed to meeting or exceeding all public health mandates. With widespread vaccine availability and the ongoing progress against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending that fully vaccinated people can resume indoor activities without wearing a mask, except where required by local regulations or law. As such, facial coverings will be optional for vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, unless local regulations require them by law," Starbucks said in a blog post. "As we continue to ensure the health and well-being of our partners and customers, our restrooms generally remain temporarily closed to the public in stores where the café or café seating is unavailable."
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