Target, CVS, Starbucks, and other retailers are simplifying mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers

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

The CDC said Thursday that for the most part, 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 get vaccinated, 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.

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 like 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 began requiring face coverings in its cafes for customers on July 15.

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