Several major US retailers, including Walmart, have announced that customers and employees who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer need to wear masks at their stores.
The move follows guidance released by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.
According to the CDC, individuals are ‘fully vaccinated’ as of two weeks after receiving their second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, or their first dose of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine.
The growing list of retailers that have relaxed mask requirements includes Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Sams Club, Publix, Target and Starbucks.
Walmart announced the decision on 14 May and has implemented the policy change at all its facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centres, fulfilment centres and offices.
In a statement, the company said: “From today, vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask. We will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in our stores and clubs.
“We will update the signs at our facilities to reflect this.”
Walmart said that masks would still be required if state or local laws dictated as much.
The company said: “We will be communicating with your local store, club or facility management team as regulations change so they can keep you informed.”
Walmart is offering vaccinations for employees at all its Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies, as well as through special events.
The company provides both walk-in and booked appointments. Employees who suffer an adverse reaction to the vaccine will be granted up to three days’ paid leave.
Costco has implemented similar measures but requires face coverings at its healthcare operations, including at the retailer’s pharmacy, optical and hearing aid areas.
Stores that have not yet reacted to the CDC guidance include pharmaceutical retailer Walgreens.