The country’s largest private employer, Walmart said it would no longer require vaccinated workers and shoppers to wear masks in stores and warehouses.
The shift comes one day after the CDC said people who have completed a COVID vaccine no longer need to wear masks or social distance in most settings. Walmart’s new no-mask policy for workers goes into effect May 18.
Vaccinated customers could shop maskless starting Friday.
Trader Joe’s also said it would drop its mask requirements for vaccinated customers. It won’t require proof of vaccination for those who forgo masks, a spokesperson said. The company posted on Twitter,
“We encourage customers to follow the guidance of health officials.”
The CDC said Thursday that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear a mask or physically distance during outdoor or indoor activities, large or small, in most settings.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association’s Lisa LaBruno, a senior vice president said,
“Retailers will continue to prioritize the safety of their team members first, as they’ve done throughout the pandemic.
We urge all retail customers and guests to follow a store’s safety protocols including wearing a mask and social distancing.”
Dropping mask requirements—along with widespread vaccine availability and falling case rates—would help bring more white-collar workers back to offices, said Kenneth Caplan, global co-head of real estate at Blackstone Group Inc. As an owner of office space, he said he has noticed more talk of businesses bringing employees back. Mr. Caplan said,
“It’s another positive step, but it’s part of a continuum of a lot of steps toward reopening.”
Personally, I still trust the efficacy of the vaccine (+ a mask) more than I trust the unvaccinated to behave responsibly.