Masks in stores: Which retailers no longer require?

Several major retailers have announced they will no longer require masks for vaccinated customers.

>> DeWine: Ohio amending health order to comply with CDC; no masks needed for fully-vaxed

The announcements come as Ohio is planning to amend its health order to follow the CDC guidelines on masking and distancing released last week.

On Wednesday, Kroger became the latest grocery chain to announce a change in their policy, and will no longer require fully vaccinated customers or employees to wear masks inside stores or at distribution sites. Kroger’s policy takes effect Thursday, May 20.

Kroger’s policy will be in effect at all stores, unless there is a state or local mandate that requires masks. Employees who work in the pharmacy and clinics will still be required to wear a mask, per the CDC guidelines on masks in healthcare settings.

Non-vaccinated customers and employees at Kroger will still be asked to wear masks inside the stores.

“And we will continue to respect the choice of individuals who prefer to continue to wear a mask,” a company spokesperson said in the updated policy.

Walmart and Sam’s Club were among the first to lift mask requirements late last week.

“Beginning today, vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask, and we will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in our stores and clubs. We will update the signage in our facilities to reflect this,” Walmart/Sam’s Club said in a statement Friday, May 14. “Masks will also continue to be required by some city and state ordinances, and we will follow those requirements.”

Costco will also no longer require masks for vaccinated customers.

“Face coverings will still be required in healthcare settings, including Pharmacy, Optical, Hearing Aid. Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield,” Costco President and CEO, Craig Jelinek wrote in a statement to store members.

Target revised the company’s mask policy Monday, joining Costco, Walmart and Sam’s Club by not requiring masks for vaccinated customers or employees.

“Given the CDC’s updated guidance last week, Target will no longer require fully vaccinated guests and team members to wear face coverings in our stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances,” a Target spokesperson said in an email to News Center 7 Monday.

However, Target will still encourage masks and social distancing and will also continue other safety and cleaning measures, the spokesperson said. Previously, a Target spokesperson said masks would continued to be required while the company re-evaluates CDC guidance.

Meijer announced Monday it will be lifting mask requirements for vaccinated customers.

“Starting today, fully vaccinated customers may shop without a face covering where allowed under state or local law,” a spokesperson for Meijer said. “Non-vaccinated customers must continue to wear a face covering while shopping in our stores, except where medical conditions prevent them from wearing one. Our team members will still be required to wear face coverings while we evaluate regulatory requirements.”

All health orders in Ohio will be lifted June 2 except those for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, regardless of vaccination status.

All other businesses, facilities, and organizations will have the choice to continue health restrictions, like masks and social distancing, but it will be up to them rather than required.

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