Walmart, Target and More Are Lifting Their Mask Mandates

The CDC revised its guidelines for those who are vaccinated, and stores are making changes to mask rules.

To say the coronavirus outbreak impacted our shopping habits would be a vast understatement. Most of us spent the last year masking up to go to Costco, Target and Walmart, and with good reason. Now, over a year later, it seems that all our efforts to stay safe have started to pay off.

With vaccination rates rising across the states, the CDC recently updated its COVID-19 guidelines. This has led to a number of retailers revising their mask guidelines, specifically for those who are fully vaccinated. According to the CDC, someone counts as fully vaccinated if they’re two weeks out from their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks out from a shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Here are the changes you can expect to see:

Walmart

Walmart made an announcement stating that fully vaccinated associates no longer have to wear masks while inside their stores, clubs, distribution centers and offices starting May 18. This extends to fully vaccinated customers and members who shop at their stores and clubs, unless mandated otherwise by city or state ordinances.

Unvaccinated employees and customers are still required to wear a mask. No word yet on whether the one-way aisles in some of the stores will continue to be enforced, or if you’ll still have to leave through a different door than the one you came in from.

Haven’t gotten your shot yet? You can get the vaccine at your nearest Walmart or Sam’s Club.

Target

Target’s latest announcement states that fully vaccinated team members and customers will no longer be required to wear a mask while in the store unless required otherwise by local ordinances. Face coverings are still recommended for anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated, and increased safety and cleaning measures, as well as social distancing, will continue to be enforced.

You can finally get on that list of things you should always buy at Target.

Costco

In a letter to members, Costco declared that beginning May 14, members and guests can browse at the warehouse without a mask in locations with no state or local mask requirements. They won’t require proof of vaccination but will require masks in healthcare settings, including the Pharmacy, Optical and Hearing Aid sections.

In locations with state or local mask requirements, members and guests will still have to wear a face mask or shield unless they have a medical condition. Children under the age of 2 don’t have to follow this rule. There’s more good news, too—Costco brought back its free samples.

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Emily Hannemann
Emily adores both food and writing, so combining those passions as a writer for Taste of Home makes perfect sense. Her work has also appeared in Birds & Blooms and on TV Insider. When she’s not eating peanut butter straight from the jar, you'll find her running or birdwatching. Emily is currently a journalism graduate student at the University of Missouri.