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Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Publix no longer require masks for vaccinated customers, Starbucks starts Monday

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Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Publix no longer require masks for vaccinated customers, Starbucks starts Monday

Retailers drop mask mandates after new CDC guidanceA day after the CDC issued new masking guidelines, retailers started announcing changes to mask policies for fully vaccinated customers.USA TODAY, WochitRetailers started announcing changes to face mask policies for fully vaccinated customers a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new masking guidelines. Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco and Publix were the first to confirm updates to mask requirements, leading the way for mask-free shopping except where required by state or local mandate. In some cases, vaccinated store employees can also go to work without a mask.Many retailers, including Apple, Target, CVS and Walgreens, say they are still evaluating the CDC guidance but say they could update policies.Starbucks updates its policy starting Monday and makes masks “optional for vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, unless local regulations require them by law.”Save better, spend better:  Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up hereTax Day deals: Free Krispy Kreme doughnut, Coors Seltzer rebate, discounts and vaccine freebies up for grabs MondaySo far, businesses have said proof of the vaccine won’t need to be shown and will be on the honor system.Publix’s mask update started Saturday and is for both fully vaccinated shoppers and workers.”In accordance with CDC guidelines, individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to use face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside any Publix store,” the grocery store chain said in a statement Friday.Bloomberg reported Friday night that Apple stores will continue to require masks and follow other COVID-19 procedures as the company continues to evaluate health and safety measures. Apple was one of the first retailers to mandate masks.The CDC said Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans, for the most part, no longer need to wear masks indoors and don’t have to wear masks outdoors, even in crowded spaces.But privately-owned businesses can still require masks, which most of the nation’s largest retailers started mandating last summer. There are other exceptions for when the CDC recommends masks such as in health care settings, transportation hubs such as airports and stations, planes and public transportation.Ride-shares still must adhere to the mask requirement and Uber and Lyft told USA TODAY that their mask policies are still in effect.”Uber’s mask requirement remains in place. We continue to ask that riders and drivers wear a mask over their nose and mouth during the entire trip and that riders sit in the back seat,” said Andrew Hasbun, Uber head of safety communications, said in a statement to USA TODAY. “Drivers can still cancel the trip if a rider isn’t wearing a mask.”Will the honor system work?: Experts say the honor system, paper cards won’t cut it for COVID vaccine verification. ‘Vaccine passports’ are coming.Reviewed recommendations: Looking for a new mask? Here are the best masksConflicts at businesses and viral videos of shoppers’ tirades erupted amid the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC advised stores not to argue with angry anti-mask customers.Lisa LaBruno, senior executive vice president at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in a statement the CDC guidance “creates ambiguity for retailers because it fails to fully align with state and local orders.”LaBruno urged customers to follow safety protocols, including wearing a mask and social distancing.”Frontline workers deserve this respect. Retailers encourage customers that do not want to wear a mask to shop online or via curbside pickup offerings,” LaBruno said.No masks for vaccinated customersSome exceptions apply, including in states and cities that have local mandates.Masks: Why some will still wear them as country returns to ‘normal’Experts say once people accept the transition back to not wearing masks, it is important to take small steps toward re-integration.USA TODAY, WochitStores still requiring masks, for nowDon’t forget your mask: Masks still required for now at Target, Walgreens, CVS and more, but retailers review new CDC mask guidanceThese lists will be updated as more retailers decide whether or not to update mask policies or share plans.Many of us are allowed to take off our masks: Why some of us don’t want toFlorida theme parks change masking rules: Universal Orlando, Disney World drop mask requirement outdoors, but visitors still must wear them on rides, indoorsContributing: Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY; Jane Musgrave, Palm Beach Post; Emily DeLetter, Cincinnati EnquirerFollow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko


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