CORONAVIRUS

Walmart, Trader Joe’s & Costco Say Vaccinated Customers Don’t Have To Wear Masks In Stores

May 15, 2021, 1:12 PM | Updated: 1:16 pm

(CNN) – Shoppers who are vaccinated against COVID-19 can shop without masks in some Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco locations as well as at Trader Joe’s, the companies said in separate announcements Friday.

The news follows new guidance that fully vaccinated people can go without masks under most circumstances.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except when in health care settings, on public transportation, or in other areas where governments require masks. People will still need to follow workplace and local businesses’ mask guidance, the CDC said.

Friday afternoon, Walmart executives sent out a letter to Walmart and Sam’s Club stores as well as supply chain facilities encouraging employees to get vaccinated. The letter noted that as of Friday, “vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask,” while unvaccinated shoppers are asked to keep wearing masks in stores.

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.”

At Costco, vaccinated customers can shop without masks in U.S. locations where there are no state or local mask mandates.

“We will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield,” in those areas, the company said in a message posted to its website Friday. “Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield.”

Costco won’t require proof that customers have been vaccinated. Instead, the message said, “We ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy.”

All customers will still have to wear face coverings in Costco’s pharmacy and other health care settings, the company specified. They will also have to wear them if they are in stores in locations where there are 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 Friday.

Trader Joe’s is keeping many of its pandemic policies in place, such as wellness checks for employees and spacing people out within its stores, according to the company’s statement. The grocery chain will not request or require proof of vaccination from its customers, Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel told CNN Business in an email. She noted that employees still have to wear masks at this time.

Other retailers are leaving their policies unchanged for now. For example, Walgreens has decided to keep its mask policy in place after taking some time to review its requirements, according to spokesperson Emily Mekstan.

“As a destination for COVID vaccine and testing, we have decided to keep our current face covering policy in place for the time being,” Mekstan told CNN Business in an email Friday.

On its COVID-19 FAQ site, last updated on May 6, the company said “customers are required to wear face covers before entering the store except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health or where the individual is under 2 years of age.” Kroger and others are still requiring customers to wear masks in stores.

Unions representing grocery store workers and retail workers said Thursday stores should continue requiring customers to wear masks to protect workers. Marc Perrone, president of United Food and Commercial Workers’ union, called the CDC guidance “confusing,” adding that it “fails to consider how it will impact essential workers who face frequent exposure to individuals who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear masks.”

Lisa LaBruno, senior executive vice president at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said on Thursday the guidance “creates ambiguity” for retailers because the national guidance may be out of step with local orders.

“These conflicting positions put retailers and their employees in incredibly difficult situations,” she said.


The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus

...
Ashley Moser

Flu, COVID and RSV all trending down for the first time in months, says CDC

Major respiratory illnesses are all trending down for the first time since September, according to the CDC.
9 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)...
Josh Ellis

Utah doctor, others charged with running COVID vaccine scheme, issuing fake records and giving fake shots

A Utah plastic surgeon, his medical corporation and three others have been charged after prosecutors say they issued fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and injected minors with saline shots.
15 days ago
Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of Salt Lake County Health Department, left, discusses schoolch...
Michael Houck

Salt Lake County ends its COVID-19 emergency status

After nearly three years, the Salt Lake County Health Department ended its COVID emergency status Tuesday. 
23 days ago
FILE: People line up in their cars as members of the Utah National Guard give COVID-19 swab tests a...
Eliza Pace

Gov. Cox, along with 24 other governors, call on President Biden to end Federal Public Health Emergency

Gov. Spencer Cox signed a letter with 24 other governors calling on President Joe Biden to end the federal public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 months ago
U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes guests to the East Room of the White House on December 14, 2022 i...
ZEKE MILLER, AP White House Correspondent

White House reveals winter COVID-19 plans, more free tests

The Biden administration is again making some free COVID-19 tests available to all U.S. households as it unveils its contingency plans for potential coronavirus surges this winter.
2 months ago
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference, Feb. 1, 2022, in Miami. Gov. DeSa...
FREIDA FRISARO, Associated Press

DeSantis seeks grand jury investigation of COVID-19 vaccines

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking the state’s Supreme Court to convene a grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Walmart, Trader Joe’s & Costco Say Vaccinated Customers Don’t Have To Wear Masks In Stores