You Can Now Shop Without A Mask In These Stores If You're Vaccinated

As COVID-19 vaccines become widely available to Americans, mask mandates are being relaxed in many places and in some, abandoned altogether. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that those who are fully vaccinated are able to be in most settings without masks. Previously, the health agency had advised that vaccinated people could safely gather outdoors in small groups without masks, but now, the guidance has been updated to include almost all settings — even indoors.

In a statement on Thursday, the CDC said: "The science is clear: If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic" (via People). While fully vaccinated people will still be required to wear masks in healthcare settings, jails, homeless shelters, and on public transportation, it's up to state and local governments to implement mask regulations.

The new guidance has resulted in mask mandates being lifted among several private businesses — places that most Americans likely visit frequently.

Many businesses have lifted mask mandates — and the list keeps growing

Thanks to updated guidance from the CDC, you can now run most of your errands without a mask. This week, Walmart, Costco, Starbucks, and Trader Joe's individually announced that masks are no longer required for fully vaccinated guests. In a letter released Friday, Walmart said that "vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask." The store also said that beginning on May 18, fully vaccinated employees will be allowed to work without masks. Walmart also stated that "masks will also continue to be required by some city and state ordinances, and we will follow those requirements."

Publix grocery stores and membership-based wholesale retailer Costco released similar announcements, with Costco noting that masks will still be required in their pharmacy and other healthcare settings. Starbucks announced that beginning Monday, face coverings are optional for fully vaccinated customers, though employees will still be required to wear them. "As we continue to ensure the health and well-being of our partners and customers, our restrooms generally remain temporarily closed to the public in stores where the café or café seating is unavailable," the coffee giant added.

It's still not clear how — or if — stores will ask customers to prove that they are vaccinated. Costco addressed this in their announcement saying, "We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members' responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy."