Publix, Walmart, & Costco Are Lifting Mask Restrictions. Here's What to Know About The New Changes

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Days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new COVID-19 guidelines for vaccinated individuals, several major retailers have announced they are lifting mask mandates for people who are vaccinated.

Here's everything you need to know about the new rules and modified policies.

What stores have lifted mask restrictions?

Publix, Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco and Trader Joe's announced Friday that facial coverings are now optional for shoppers who are fully vaccinated.

On Saturday, Winn-Dixie and Fresco y Mas joined the growing list of retailers that are lifting mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers and associates.

The stores cite the CDC's new guidance relaxing mask restrictions for inoculated individuals as the reason for modified mask policies.

What does it mean to be "fully vaccinated"?

According to the CDC, an individual is deemed "fully vaccinated" two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

What if there's a state or local mask mandate?

In regions where mask mandates have been implemented by state or local governments, mask restrictions remain in place at the aforementioned stores.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order suspending all local COVID-19 orders and restrictions, effective July 1st.

How will stores check that I'm vaccinated?

Retailers have not been entirely clear in how they plan to verify whether someone has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Both Costco and Trader Joe's said they would not require proof of vaccination, but employees at the grocery chain will still need to cover their faces.

"We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members' responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy," Costco said in a statement.

Are there any exceptions?

Costco announced that facial coverings will still be required in certain health care settings, such as the Pharmacy, Optical and Hearing Aid departments.

What stores have not lifted mask mandates?

Several major chains, including CVS, Home Depot, Macy's and supermarket giant Kroger Co., said they are still requiring masks in stores for the time being, though some said they are reviewing their policies.

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