Walmart, Target, Costco, and others stay quiet on mask mandates as the CDC says vaccinated Americans should wear masks again

·2 min read
walmart worker mask
Many major retailers ditched mask mandates in May. Courtesy of Walmart
  • The CDC changed its guidelines around mask-wearing on Tuesday.

  • It recommends that everyone - vaccinated or not - wear masks indoors in areas where COVID-19 is spreading fastest.

  • Retailers that previously dropped mask mandates have not yet confirmed if these policies will resume.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Walmart, Target, and McDonald's are among several major retailers and restaurant chains that have yet to comment on new recommendations around mask-wearing as COVID-19 cases soar in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance on Tuesday, recommending that all people - vaccinated or not - should wear a mask indoors in areas of the country where COVID-19 cases are spreading fastest.

As of Wednesday morning, many retail companies remained quiet on whether they will be updating their policies after scrapping masks in stores and restaurants in May, following CDC guidance.

Walmart, Costco, Kohl's, Target, Home Depot, Starbucks, Chipotle, and KFC did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Best Buy responded, saying there was no policy update to share.

All these retailers previously scrapped mask mandates.

While some workers might be happy to be rid of masks, others fear that fewer masked customers will put them at greater risk of infection.

In May, a Starbucks worker told Insider's Mary Meisenzahl that she was considering leaving her job after the CDC announced that mask mandates would be lifted.

A leading retail union in the US is urging the CDC to beef up its guidance and make masks mandatory again to protect workers.

It "is the only way we can finally take control of this virus," UFCW international president Marc Perrone said in a statement shared with Insider.

He continued: "Every retail CEO in the country must recognize that now is the time for all of us to mask up so we can keep our economy open and communities safe."

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