Trader Joe's And Other Stores Drop Mask Mandate For Fully Vaccinated Customers

by Kristine Cannon
Trader Joe's mask mandate
Noam Galai/Getty Images

The move follows updated mask guidance from the CDC just one day prior

On Thursday, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. And since, not only has the updated mask guidance left people divided on how they feel about the swift action (including and especially parents), but it’s also prompted big chain stores to update their own mask mandates, including Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Walmart.

Stores with updated mask guidance

On Friday, Trader Joe’s was among the first to announce that fully vaccinated customers no longer need to wear a mask while shopping, specifically in states and U.S. locations where there are no state or local mask mandates. Walmart, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, Publix and Costco quickly followed suit with a similar updated guidance, with all of the aforementioned stores stating that unvaccinated people should still wear masks while shopping.

“We encourage 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 states, per Today.

“Masks will also continue to be required by some city and state ordinances, and we will follow those requirements,” Walmart said.

On Friday afternoon, Walmart sent out a letter encouraging employees to get vaccinated, stating that as of Friday, “vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask,” CNN reports.

Costco’s mask update started Friday, Walmart’s mask update starts May 18, and Publix’s mask update starts Saturday for both fully vaccinated shoppers and workers.

No proof of vaccination

The stores state that they will not require proof of vaccination, but instead “ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy” in the case of Costco.

Stores still requiring masks

Some retailers, on the other hand, say they are still evaluating the CDC guidance and while they may update their respective policies, they will, for now, continue to require their customers wear face coverings. So far, Albertsons, Apple, CVS, Kroger, Macy’s, Target, Whole Foods, the Home Depot, Walgreens and Winn-Dixie continue to require masks for now, USA Today reports.

At Costco, all customers will still have to wear face coverings in their pharmacies and other healthcare settings. Costco also continues to recommend that “all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield.”

And at Trader Joe’s, all of their employees will continue to wear masks. The store will continue conducting employee wellness checks, as well as continue to use plexiglass barriers and clean their stores and high-touch surfaces frequently.

The CDC announced just two days ago 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, however, follow workplace and local businesses’ mask guidance.

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.