Fully vaccinated people can throw off their masks when shopping at Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Costco.
In separate announcements on Friday, the companies invited shoppers who have taken the vaccine to come to their stores without wearing masks, in accordance with CDC guidelines. However, the stores say they will comply with any state or local mandates.
“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,” said Costco on its website. “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 healthcare 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.”
“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 company added.
Walmart executives reportedly sent a letter to all Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, “as well as supply chain facilities encouraging employees to get vaccinated,” according to CNN. “Employees who are fully vaccinated will be permitted to work without masks starting May 18, the letter said, adding that some workers may have to continue to wear masks for health or sanitation reasons. The letter added that ‘masks will also continue to be required by some city and state ordinances, and we will follow those requirements.'”
Trader Joe’s will be keeping many of its policies in place, including employee wellness checks and spacing people out in-store while letting fully-vaccinated customers to shop without a mask.
On Thursday, after months of telling fully-vaccinated Americans to continue wearing masks, the CDC finally issued new guidelines that vaccinated people generally do not have to wear masks indoors.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters in a virtual press conference on Thursday afternoon. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that we have stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
Walensky noted that the vaccines had high effectiveness when combatting COVID-19.
“In the United States, vaccines were 90% effective against any infection in nearly 4,000 health care workers, and 94% effective against hospitalizations from COVID-19 in an evaluation across 24 hospitals in 14 states,” she said.