Starbucks, Walmart and Target among stores keeping mask mandates despite new CDC guidance for vaccinated Americans

STARBUCKS, Walmart, and Target are among the stores that will keep mask mandates in place despite the Centers for Disease Control relaxing its guidelines on Thursday.

Several large chain stores have indicated that workers and customers will still be required to keep face coverings on even if they have been fully vaccinated against Covid.

Others are reassessing their policy in light of the new federal guidance and are yet to announce if they will lift mask mandates.

Target said all of its coronavirus safety measures will remain in place throughout its stores "while we review today's guidance from the CDC and re-evaluate the guidance we offer our team and guests."

CVS announced that it is evaluating its in-store policy, as is Macy's.

"The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process," a CVS spokesperson told Business Insider.

All 3,000 Kroger stores will keep mask mandates in place and Walmart will also require face coverings.

"We serve millions of Americans every week and believe our policy of requiring associates and customers to wear masks in our stores has helped protect them during the pandemic, and we're not lifting those measures at this time," Walmart said in a statement.

Both Starbucks and Home Depot said that there was no plan yet to change the mask policy in its stores.

Walgreens has not yet confirmed if it will change in-store policies in accordance with the new CDC rules.

Gap said that its policies are currently under review.

Some states have also shown reluctance to lift mandates.

Gov. Gavin Newsom had said that California would only lift its outdoor policy on masks on June 15 when the state plans to fully reopen.

The governors of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia – all Democrats – have also all said that they will take the new guidance under advisement before implementing it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said that New York “always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio also said that New York City would be reviewing the new rules “as masks will still be important for schools, public transportation, doctors offices and more.”

The CDC ruled on Thursday that fully vaccinated people will not need to wear masks in indoor and outdoor spaces.

It will mean that two weeks after receiving a Covid vaccine, Americans can safely resume life as it was before the pandemic with limited restrictions.

The guidelines still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, trains, planes, prisons, and homeless shelters.

Masks will also still be required in healthcare settings.

Americans were advised that they will still need to follow regulations implemented by different local businesses and in various workplaces.

However, it would ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools.

"If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic," the CDC said in a statement.

"The science is clear: if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic."

"You can shed your masks," added CDC Director Rochelle Walensky during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

President Joe Biden went maskless as he emerged from the White House for the first time since the announcement.

Biden, who for weeks has been criticized over his mixed messaging over mask-wearing, celebrated the new guidance as a "great milestone" and warned "don’t bet against the American people."

"This is a great day for America," Biden said. "This has been made possible by the incredible success we've had by vaccinating so many Americans so quickly."

After the announcement, unions representing grocery store workers and retail workers said that stores should keep mask mandates in place, CNN reports.

Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, blasted the CDC guidance as "confusing."

He said that the agency "fails to consider how it will impact essential workers who face frequent exposure to individuals who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear masks."

Lisa LaBruno, senior executive vice president at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, also claimed that thr CDC guidance "fails to fully align with state and local orders." 

"These conflicting positions put retailers and their employees in incredibly difficult situations," she added.

The union representes retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Home Depot.

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