ajor retailers across the nation have revised their mask policies as per the new guidelines from the CDC. Walmart, QuikTrip, Publix, McDonald's, and Dollar General are allowing mask-free shopping for fully vaccinated customers without the violation of state or local face-covering mandates. These retail chains are following the honor system for their employees and customers to remove their masks if they are fully vaccinated. The honor system requires no verification requirement as it is a matter of trust and honesty among the customers.
On June 17, 2021, CDC revised its guidelines such that fully vaccinated Americans need not wear face masks indoors and outdoors, even in crowded places. The guidance eliminates mask requirements for fully vaccinated people in most settings. The updated mask policy does not apply to mass transit systems, health care facilities, or crowded areas – unless that conflict with local law.
Following C.D.C guidelines, a growing number of major retailers are updating their mask policies for those who are fully vaccinated. Examples include:
QuikTrip, Walmart, and Publix are among the retail organizations in the US moving to an honor system. These store chains were among the first to confirm revised mask policies. This updated mask mandate will pave the way for mask-free shopping. If additional local mask requirements are in place, customers need to wear a mask even if they are vaccinated. QuikTrip left a heartfelt note to its customers to provide background regarding recent Covid Policy changes.
Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
McDonald's confirmed to USA TODAY on Thursday that they are updating their mask policies soon. A McDonald's spokesperson said “Restaurant staff will still wear face masks during their working hours in restaurants, but masks will be optional for fully vaccinated customers unless required by local regulation, while social distancing and protective barriers in restaurants will remain in place."
Dollar General revealed that It “will not require fully-vaccinated employees, customers, and vendors to wear facial coverings or masks, but consumers living in areas with local mask requirements are encouraged to continue using masks."
Publix updated its mask policy on Saturday for fully vaccinated customers and employees. "Following C.D.C guidelines, individuals who have not fully vaccinated are required to use face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside any Publix store," the grocery store chain said in a statement on Friday.
Many retailers said they would not require any proof of vaccination. Relaxed protection requirements would make use of an honor system. The honor system requires no proof of vaccination as it is a mutual effort to ensure the safety of all.
Not every organization has made adjustments, “CVS Health is currently re-evaluating its position on masks given the CDC’s new guidance,” Joe Goode, a spokesman, said in a statement. “Until that evaluation is complete, the existing company policies on face coverings and maintaining social distance in stores and clinics remain in effect.”
The new mask policy has surprised many Americans. Federal officials warned the public that wearing masks and social distancing was mandatory to control the upsurge of the virus. The revised mask guidance raised some concerns because retailers do not have a system to check whether their consumers and employees have been vaccinated or not. Some health officials expressed their concerns that unvaccinated people may also choose not to use masks in public places.
“C.D.C. guidance is confusing and fails to consider how it will impact the workers who face frequent exposure to individuals who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear masks.” Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, said on Thursday. “Essential workers are still forced to play mask police for shoppers who are unvaccinated and refuse to follow local Covid safety measures,” he added.
A few states have proposed an alternative to an honor system; a document as proof of vaccination. However, vaccine cards and vaccine passports have become a controversial topic. Although vaccine verification may seem to add a level of certainty, critics argue that they may raise privacy issues. Already, airlines, government entities, and private organizations are experimenting with electronic verifications. At present, the Biden Administration is not considering federal mandates.