Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Costco Say Vaccinated Customers Don’t Have to Wear Masks in Stores

Trader Joe’s is encouraging customers to follow the CDC’s latest guidance.

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 healthcare 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 (WMT) 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 US 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.”

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SOURCE: CNN, By Danielle Wiener-Bronner and Nathaniel Meyersohn

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