Target joins Starbucks, others do not require a mask for fully vaccinated customers unless required by law

A person wearing a protective mask enters a Starbucks coffee shop in San Francisco, California, United States on Thursday, January 21, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Target and Starbucks have joined a growing list of retailers and restaurants that on Monday will simplify mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers unless local or state laws mandate face coverings.

Companies began changing their guidelines for wearing masks in shops and cafes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that fully vaccinated people no longer need to cover their faces indoors.

Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Publix were among the first to make mask-free shopping possible. However, Home Depot, Gap and Ulta Beauty are among the retailers who have announced that they will continue to monitor developments but maintain their pandemic precautions.

In a statement, Target said employees do not need to wear masks if they are also fully vaccinated. It said it would continue other security measures, like additional cleaning and social distancing in its stores.

In its new guidance on Thursday, the CDC said 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 in federal agency led to 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 a concern for those who have not yet been vaccinated, including parents of children under the age of 12 who may not yet receive the vaccine.

The update to Starbucks’ mask policy does not appear to have any impact on the wearing of the mask by 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 began requiring face coverings in its cafes for customers on July 15.

Starbucks shares are up nearly 4% so far this year, giving the company a market value of $ 131 billion. Business was hit by the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, but sales in the same store in the U.S. returned to pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter of fiscal.

The target stocks have risen by almost 20% since the beginning of the year. It has a market value of $ 105 billion.

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