TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are now able to ditch masks in most circumstances, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week.
In the wake of that new guidance, many stores across the country are changing their mask policies for customers who have been fully vaccinated.
Here’s where Tampa Bay area stores stand on requiring masks:
Masks are now optional for fully-vaccinated customers and employees at Publix.
The Lakeland-based grocery chain posted the following statement on its website about the new policy:
“As a result of the recently updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, Publix will no longer require fully vaccinated associates or customers to wear face coverings, unless required by a state or local order or ordinance, beginning May 15.”
“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.”
Walmart and Sam’s Club
Masks are no longer required for Walmart and Sam’s Club customers who are fully vaccinated. Employees who are fully vaccinated can stop wearing masks on May 18. Customers and employees who are not vaccinated will still be asked to wear face coverings.
“‘Fully vaccinated’ means it has been two weeks since a person received the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson,” the company said on its website.
In addition to being allowed to ditch the mask at work, Walmart is incentivizing employees to get vaccinated by offering $75 as a thank you for getting the shot.
Target dropped the mask mandate in its stores for fully-vaccinated customers and employees when the CDC issued its new guidance.
The retailer posted the updated policy on its website:
“Given the CDC’s updated guidance, Target no longer requires fully vaccinated guests and team members to wear face coverings in our stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances. Face coverings continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores.”
Walgreens announced it would stop requiring masks for fully-vaccinated customers starting Wednesday, May 19. Employees will still wear masks while working.
A Walgreens corporate spokesperson sent this statement to WFLA:
“Following the latest CDC guidance, beginning today, May 19, Walgreens will no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear face coverings inside of our stores, unless mandated by state or local regulations.
Customers who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing face coverings, and our team members will continue to wear them while working. The health and safety of our customers and team members will continue to guide our decision process.”
Trader Joe’s is no longer requiring masks for customers who are fully vaccinated.
“We do not require proof of vaccination, as we trust our customers to follow CDC guidelines,” the company said in a statement to WFLA.
According to a spokesperson, masks are still required for employees.
CVS announced Monday that fully-vaccinated customers will no longer be required to wear masks in stores.
Customers who are not fully vaccinated will still be asked to wear masks. Employees will also be required to continue wearing masks while at work, according to the CVS website.
“Health, safety and science will continue to drive our decision-making process,” the company said online.
Costco changed its mask policy on May 14 after the CDC released its new guidance. According to the company’s website, stores that are located in areas that don’t have any state or local mask requirements will no longer require face coverings for fully-vaccinated customers and employees.
The company posted the new policy on its website:
“In Costco locations where the state or local jurisdiction does not have a mask mandate, we will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield. We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy. Face coverings will still be required in healthcare settings, including Pharmacy, Optical, Hearing Aid. Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield.”
The policy of requiring masks is still in effect in areas where there are state and local mandates, Costco added.
Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie and Fresco y Mas, updated its mask policy over the weekend for customers and employees.
Anyone fully-vaccinated can shop and work without a mask now, but those who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to wear face coverings.
A spokesperson sent this statement to WFLA:
“At Southeastern Grocers, we’ve navigated this pandemic with our customers as part of their communities. Safety – for our customers and associates – has been our top priority, and we’ve worked tirelessly to adjust our in-store operations to ensure all customers feel safe while shopping our stores. As we move into this next phase of our pandemic response, we are adjusting our policies to reflect the great progress that’s been made… We appreciate the flexibility, patience and respect for other shoppers and our associates shown by our customers over the last year, and we ask for their continued cooperation with our updated policy.”
Sprouts Farmers Market
Sprouts updated its store policy on May 12, according to its website.
The policy online now reads:
“As of May 12, 2021, we strongly encourage non-vaccinated people over the age of 2 without disabilities or underlying medical conditions to wear face coverings while inside our stores. This policy is in line with CDC recommendations regarding the use of face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Where state mandates or local ordinances require face coverings, we will request or require customers to wear a face covering. Stores communicate this policy to all customers through signage at store entrances. We have face coverings available at store entrances for customers who do not have their own.”
Customers and employees who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to wear masks at Starbucks, according to the company’s website.
The updated policy has been posted to the Starbucks website:
“With widespread vaccine availability and the ongoing progress against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending that fully vaccinated people can resume indoor activities without wearing a mask, except where required by local regulations or law. As such, facial coverings will be optional for vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, unless local regulations require them by law.”
Home Depot confirmed to WFLA on Tuesday it had revised its mask policy to follow the new CDC guidance.
According to a spokesperson, customers and employees who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks or face coverings unless there’s a state or local mandate in place. Customers who aren’t fully vaccinated are still encouraged to wear a mask.
This article will be updated as more stores revise their mask policies, please check back for updates.