Several national retailers say they’ll continue to require face coverings in their stores even as Texas and some other states lift mask requirements.
Both the Lone Star State and Mississippi announced Tuesday that they’d end their face mask requirements in public spaces and said they’d allow businesses to reopen at 100% capacity as COVID-19 cases dip across the country.
Other states have taken similar actions, despite warnings from public health officials that the pandemic is far from over and easing restrictions threatens the nation’s recovery.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, criticized these states for lifting their mask mandates, calling the decision “inexplicable” and “ill-advised.”
Though these states aren’t requiring their residents to wear masks, many national stores are continuing to ask all customers to do so, at least for now.
Below is a list of major retailers continuing mask policies:
A Target spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the company is still requiring its guests and employees to wear masks or face coverings in all of its stores, except for guests with underlying medical conditions and young children. And as more Americans get vaccinated for COVID-19, Target is still asking those who have received a vaccine to wear masks and follow all social distancing guidelines.
Kroger, the country’s largest chain of groceries, said in a statement Thursday that it will continue to require everyone in its stores to wear masks until “all our frontline grocery associates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.” The company owns stores under different names as well, including King Soopers, Ralphs and Dillons. It’s also advocating for federal, state and local officials to prioritize grocery workers in vaccine rollout plans.
CVS said in a statement Thursday that its face covering policy remains in effect at all of its pharmacies nationwide, based on federal public health recommendations. The company said, “if a customer is not wearing a mask or face covering, we will refer them to our signage and ask that they help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering.”
Like CVS, fellow pharmacy chain Walgreens says its masking policy is not changing. It still requires team members and customers to wear masks, unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health or if the person is under 2 years old. “We have signage on doors and make announcements over the store's public address system to remind customers that face covers are required,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
ALDI, a grocery chain which has locations in both Texas and Mississippi, said it doesn’t plan to make any adjustments to its safety measures at this time. A company spokesperson said in a statement, “For the health and well-being of the communities we serve and for the protection of our employees, we will maintain our current nationwide policy requiring all employees and customers to wear a face covering when shopping in our stores.”
Starbucks will also keep enforcing its face mask requirements for its staff and customers. In a statement, a spokesperson said the coffee company will “continue to make decisions rooted in facts and science and are committed to meeting or exceeding public health mandates.”
Reports from USA Today, Bloomberg and CBS News show additional companies, like Best Buy, Kohl’s, and Macy’s are also continuing their mask mandates. We’ve reached out to them for confirmation and are waiting to hear back.
CDC still asking people to mask up
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing to ask Americans to mask up when in public spaces to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus to prevent any more spikes in cases. Click here to learn more about masking.