Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s lift mask restrictions for vaccinated customers

Persons who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 will be able to shop without masks at many Walmart, Costco and Trader Joe’s locations nationwide, the companies said in separate news releases Friday.

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The announcements come a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people are no longer required 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.

Walmart

At Walmart, “fully vaccinated customers” -- consumers who have received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- will be allowed to enter stores mask-free, the company said in a news release.

Walmart said the mask-free rule will include all stores, clubs, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and offices.

“We will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in our stores and clubs,” Walmart said in its news release. “We will update the signage in our facilities to reflect this.”

“We will be communicating with your local store, club or facility management team as regulations change so they can keep you informed,” Walmart said.

Unvaccinated workers must still wear face coverings, the store said.

As an incentive to be vaccinated, Walmart is offering a $75 cash bonus to associates below the level of facility manager who show proof of full vaccination, the company said in its release. That process begins Tuesday, the company said.

Costco

In a news release on Friday, Costco said that company stores in U.S. locations with no state or local mask requirements will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter without a mask or face shield.

“We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy,” Costco said in its news release.

Face coverings will still be required in the store’s pharmacy, optical and hearing aid departments, the company said.

Stores located in areas that still have state or local mask requirements will adhere to that policy, Costco said. Children under the age of 2 are exempt; a member or guest with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask must still wear a face shield, the news release said.

Trader Joe’s

In a statement, Trader Joe’s said that it encouraged customers “to follow the guidance of health officials, including, as appropriate, CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping.”

Trader Joe’s will not request or require proof of vaccination from its customers, Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel told CNN in an email. She noted that employees still have to wear masks at this time.

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