U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 39 mins

Walmart, Costco and Trader Joe’s are dropping mask requirement for vaccinated people

·2 min read

This story was last updated at 6 p.m. ET Friday.

People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer be required to wear face masks at Walmart, Costco and Trader Joe’s, the companies announced Friday.

Trader Joe’s became the first major retailer to update its guidance to allow vaccinated customers to go unmasked in its grocery stores Friday afternoon. Walmart and Costco followed and dropped their masks rules as of Friday evening.

The change comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 “can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” with some exceptions including while traveling on planes, buses and trains.

Trader Joe’s said on its website that it encourages customers to follow health officials’ guidance, “including, as appropriate, CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping.”

Store employees will still be required to wear masks, CNN Business reported.

In accordance with new guidance from the CDC, Trader Joe’s was among the retailers announcing Friday that vaccinated people do not have to wear face masks in its stores.
In accordance with new guidance from the CDC, Trader Joe’s was among the retailers announcing Friday that vaccinated people do not have to wear face masks in its stores.

The grocery chain still has other COVID-19 safety measures in place, such as plexiglass barriers at checkout stands, wellness checks for employees and the encouragement of social distancing.

Walmart, one of the nation’s largest retailers, also said it will allow vaccinated members to shop without a face mask in light of the updated CDC guidance. Vaccinated employees won’t be required to wear a mask either, the company announced in a memo.

“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,” the statement read. “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 said it would also modify mask rules at some of its stores, allowing members and guests who are fully vaccinated to forego a face mask or shield. Masks will still be required in the pharmacy and optical departments, however.

The wholesale club said it won’t ask for proof of vaccination but are asking shoppers to be “responsible and respectful [in] cooperation with this revised policy.”

Target and Kroger are among the major retailers still requiring masks for all customers, including those vaccinated. Other retailers said they will review the CDC’s recent guidance and reevaluate.

Which stores still require vaccinated people to wear masks after new CDC guidance?