Walmart and Costco are relaxing their face mask requirements following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing new coronavirus guidance this week.
Shoppers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear a face mask inside Walmart and Costco stores unless state or local policy is required, each retail giant announced Friday separately.
Fourteen months since the coronavirus pandemic started, the CDC said Thursday that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume indoor activities without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart. However, businesses may set their mask policies, as can localities reluctant to walk back ordinances imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19, which most Americans are not fully vaccinated against.
“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,” Walmart executives wrote in the letter. “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.
Costco told its employees it would continue to require face coverings in its stores’ pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid sections and recommends everyone wear one regardless of vaccination status.
“We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy,” Costco executives wrote in a letter.
Other businesses to revise their coronavirus rules Friday includes grocery store chain Publix, which said it would not require fully vaccinated customers and staff to wear masks unless needed locally.