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Target, CVS and Starbucks update mask policy for vaccinated customers

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Customers in a Target Corp. store on Saturday, August 15, 2020. in New York, USA, protective masks. Target is expected to release the winning numbers on August 19th.

Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The CDC said Thursday that in most cases, whether indoors or outdoors, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask or stay 6 feet away from others. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or the single dose from Johnson & Johnson.

The sudden change by the federal agency created confusion and criticism. On the weekend, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and the Chief Medical Officer of the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, rounds on newscasts to explain and defend the policy change.

Some believe the new guidelines will encourage more people to vaccinate, but others are concerned that policies rely too heavily on people being honest about their vaccination status. The possibility of unvaccinated people going maskless is an issue for those who have not yet been vaccinated or have children under the age of 12 who cannot yet receive the vaccine.

As of Saturday, around 47% of the US population had received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the CDC. According to the agency, around 37% are fully vaccinated.

All retailers said they would follow local mandates, which are changing too. New York State said Monday it would allow people to skip masks if they are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. In some environments, e.g. In accordance with federal guidelines, masks are still required, for example in public transport and healthcare facilities.

Retailers who have changed their mask policies have not announced any plans to review customers’ vaccination status. They asked those who were not vaccinated to continue wearing masks in their stores. The companies have followed different approaches with their employees.

In a statement, CVS said its employees would still have to wear masks at work. Target said in a statement that its employees, who are fully vaccinated, are not required to wear masks – but said they would maintain other safety measures such as extra cleaning and social distancing in their stores.

Starbucks’ new mask policy doesn’t seem to apply to baristas. Since February, the coffee chain has been requiring its restaurant employees at company-operated locations in the United States and Canada to wear multi-layer face covers or double masks. Starbucks has required face coverings in its cafes for customers since July 15.

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Robert Dunfee