The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the national public health agency of the US, has issued fresh guidelines with regard to COVID protocols. It says that those who have received both the doses of the COVID vaccines, Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, need not wear masks or maintain six-feet distance from others. Following these fresh guidelines, Walmart and Costco have allowed customers as well as employees who are fully vaccinated to discard their masks inside their stores, unless there are specific laws of the state or local area that demand otherwise.
At Walmart as well as its membership warehouse, Sam’s Club, the employees can stop wearing masks in the stores, offices or other facilities, starting May 18, if they are fully vaccinated, whereas fully vaccinated customers can discard masks with immediate effect.
To be considered fully vaccinated, an individual should have received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson at least two weeks ago.
At Costco, starting May 14, all customers and employees have been allowed to discard their masks within the stores. However, in the pharmacy area or the parts where optical and hearing aids are sold, face shields or masks are still mandatory.
Walmart has been encouraging employees to get vaccinated by offering them incentives and the freedom to work without masks.
In the US, many protocols specific to certain industries and local municipalities conflict with the new guidelines issued by the CDC, which is preventing many organisations from relaxing rules for their staff yet. Several auto manufacturing companies are still following the guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which mandates wearing masks and maintaining social distance.