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What Happens After Target, Walmart, Costco, And Other Retail Stores Consider The New Guidelines For Mask Use?

CDC now recommends that vaccinated individuals who live or work in areas where the Coronavirus delta variant is abundant get masks indoors again in areas with significant or high transmission.

As of Tuesday, full immunization holders no longer need to wear face masks, nearly eleven weeks after the CDC announced no masking was mandatory. After the CDC updated its policy in May, many retailers changed their policies toward vaccinated customers.

What Happens After Target, Walmart, Costco, And Other Retail Stores Consider The New Cdc Guidelines For Mask Use?

Despite the lack of announcements from big-box retailers, Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said this could quickly change. In May, the CDC advised retailers to remove mask requirements. He expects retailers to reinstate them just as they did. Tuesday, Saunders said compliance would be the main challenge. This time around there will likely be more resistant to masks since re-masking will be viewed as retrograde.

What Happens After Target, Walmart, Costco, And Other Retail Stores Consider The New Cdc Guidelines For Mask Use?

Americans received conflicting messages from authorities regarding whether they should cover their faces in public during the pandemic, sparking debates about mask compliance.

President of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Brian Dodge, said Tuesday that retailers understand the guideline may evolve and that masks might need to be placed again in some circumstances.

Dodge said in a statement ahead of the CDC’s announcement that customers should follow the instructions provided by local retailers and respect employees and fellow customers who may continue to wear masks for their own and their families’ safety.

In a statement last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser for COVID-19, said the CDC was reviewing its mask recommendations amid highly transmissible variants driving up cases. The CDC reports that more than 80% of US cases of COVID-19 are caused by the delta variant.

As CDC Director Rochelle Walensky noted at a Tuesday briefing, “the delta variant shows every day it is willing to out-smart us by being an opportunist.” This new science is worrisome and unfortunately requires a review of our recommendations. There have been some instances where someone with the delta variant after vaccination has been contagious and will spread the virus to others.

The CDC’s recommendation does not go far enough, according to the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Marc Perrone, President of UFCW International, said the only effective way to control the spread of the virus is through a national mask mandate. Retail CEOs must recognize now is the time to mask up in order to keep our economy open and communities safe. A confusion with mask policies in states and localities has led to retail employees having to play the role of vaccine police, and urgent action is needed to strengthen COVID-19 safety enforcement.

Policy changes for masks at stores

Walmart, Target, and Costco are among retailers who have implemented mask policies as of summer 2020. 

The company then announced on May 14 that it would be offering masks to fully vaccinated customers. Also announced May 14 were changes in mask guidelines at Walmart and Sam’s Club. Days later, Target changed its policy.

Residents of areas that require masks have been required to continue wearing masks – regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated. 

Masks cannot be worn in retail establishments by vaccinated individuals, since retailers no longer ask for vaccination cards or question them at the door but instead rely on honor.

The mask policy changes were the subject of a conversation with more than 500 USA TODAY readers from May. The majority of those surveyed said they were fully vaccinated, with many saying they would continue to wear masks; those who said they were unvaccinated said they would not get the vaccine.

A recent survey conducted by Axios/Ipsos found that only 55% of respondents wear masks in public “sometimes” or “always.” In early May, 84% said the same. In advance of the CDC announcement, Penzeys Spices, a specialty retailer based in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, emailed its customers saying it was time to mask up again.

The retailer published an update on its website to inform their customers they would be required to wear masks in all their stores due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 infections.

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