Attention all Costco shoppers! There’s been an important update to Costco’s mask policy: The warehouse giant has updated its website to announce that, following new CDC guidance indicating that fully vaccinated people can safely go mask-free both outside and indoors, Costco stores will no longer require vaccinated customers to wear masks while shopping.
The update made sure to clarify that “fully vaccinated” means a full two weeks after someone’s second dose, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. Stores will also require proof of vaccination for mask-free entry, and continue to require face coverings in healthcare settings, like the pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid departments.
It’s important to note that this update in guidelines only applies to Costco locations in states or jurisdictions without mask mandates. Stores in areas that still require face coverings, like New York, California, and Massachusetts, will still adhere to local guidelines — meaning masks remain a requirement for several stores, at least for the time being.
Several states have announced plans to ease mask mandates since the CDC’s announcement, including eight that have made the shift in the past week alone: Minnesota, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Illinois, and Connecticut. Other states, like Texas and Montana, dropped mask mandates prior to the update in guidelines, while still others, including Florida and Georgia, didn’t have them to begin with.
Costco isn’t the only major retailer to shift shopping protocols in light of the updated guidance. Walmart, Starbucks, Publix, Sam’s Club, and Trader Joe’s have also modified their shopping protocols, officially defining face coverings as “optional” for fully vaccinated customers.
Other department stores have yet to announce any sort of shift: A spokesperson for Target told Insider that they are reviewing the new guidance but plan to maintain all public health measures, like masks and social distancing, for the time being.
Regardless of what the CDC says, however, some people actually want to keep wearing masks, especially because young children are still ineligible for the vaccine. Mom Kristy Hanson, who plans to keep masking, previously told SheKnows, “I can’t imagine being in a public outdoor setting with my daughter and saying, ‘Sweetie, I can take my mask off now but you have to keep yours on.’”
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