CVS Health is the latest big retailer to drop its mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers.
CVS joins Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Costco Wholesale, Publix and Trader Joe's in no longer requiring fully vaccinated customers to mask-up while shopping — unless mandated by local or state ordinances. The loosening of the requirements followed new guidance last week from the Centers for Disease Control that fully vaccinated Americans, for the most part, no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors. Several of the nation's largest chains, including The Kroger Co., had not yet announced changes to their masking protocols as of Monday afternoon.
Walmart announced its change in a memo on Friday, saying that fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can shop without a mask in its namesake and Sam’s Club stores, effective immediately. It also said that fully-vaccinated Walmart employees will no longer be required to wear a mask at work, starting on May 18 (also unless required by ordinances). The policy applies to the chain's stores, clubs, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and offices.
Walmart said it will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in its stores and clubs. The company is updating its store signage to reflect the revised policy.
Along with its new mask policy, Walmart announced it will provide a $75 bonus to its U.S. field employees for getting fully vaccinated. It will be given to those who have already been fully vaccinated and those who do so in the future. The bonus applies to all current, hourly and salaried field-based Walmart, Sam's Club and supply chain associates below the level of facility manager.