The pandemic might have saved brick-and-mortar shopping as restrictions lift and customers head back to stores

home depot
  • Walmart, Target, and other retailers reported strong in-store sales.
  • Customers are returning to stores in person and making big purchases.
  • Analysts say curbside pickup has helped stores weather the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

COVID-19 and a year of staying at home may have saved some brick-and-mortar stores from the retail apocalypse, or at least slowed its advances.

Some of the country’s biggest retailers, including Walmart, Macy’s, Target, and Home Depot, said sales are strong and shoppers are returning to stores as pandemic restrictions ease and the country reopens. Some experts predict that after more than a year of staying at home because of the lockdowns, people will again embrace shopping in person, kickstarting a new life for some traditional retailers.

Read more: The once-lowly strip mall is actually the hottest real-estate investment right now because hordes of new suburbanites need groceries, booze, and cheap stuff for their homes

Walmart reported over $138 billion in first quarter sales as people return to normal, pre-pandemic shopping behaviors, the big box chain said. “Customers clearly want to get out and shop,” Walmart said.

Walmart customers are shopping for different items than they were last year, purchasing more meat, produce, and bakery products, along with a rebound in beauty sales. Apparel, home, outdoor, and sporting good categories all grew as well, Walmart said.

Target saw similar growth, with a 22.9% increase in comparable sales over the same period last year. A slowdown in growth of digital sales seems to be a signs that shoppers are more willing to come into stores to do their shopping in person, reversing the trend of the last year.

“With vaccinations rolling out across the country and consumers increasingly comfortable venturing out, we’ve seen an enthusiastic return to in-store shopping,” Target CEO Brian Cornell told analysts during an earnings call.

Home Depot sales growth continued at nearly 30% for the first quarter, as customers work on home additions concentrated in the lumber, bath, and kitchen areas.

This is a period of “retail reinvention,” Cowen senior equity research analyst Oliver Chen told Insider. “There were winners and losers” in the pandemic, he said. “The survivors are getting stronger” and taking more market share, he told Insider, pointing to Walmart and Target as examples.

The rise of curbside pickup also reflects this trend, Chen said, as a kind of midpoint between e-commerce and in-store shopping. It’s been embraced by Walmart and Target to great success, with many return customers. Curbside shopping is also ideal for stores, which get the benefit of lower fulfillment costs as customers complete the expensive last mile of shipping themselves.

Macy’s, which was already struggling before COVID-19 took a bite out of retailers revenue, said this week that sales jumped 56% in its first quarter compared to the same period last year. CEO Jeff Gennette thinks it’s the start of a new trend. “Clearly our customer is ready to get on with life,” Gennette said. “We don’t see this as a short-term pop. We think this is momentum that has not peaked yet.”

Shoppers are likely to continue heading out to stores as more states lift mask requirements, allowing vaccinated customers to shop without a face covering. Walmart and Costco are among stores that have lifted mask requirements.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Kroger, Costco, Target, and more are dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers. Here’s how stores are responding to new CDC guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Companies including Macy’s and Kroger have said workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask mandates. States can still set their own rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but not all retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Macy’s and Kroger are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask requirement – although individual states can still mandate masks in stores.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

Target updated its policies on Monday, announcing that fully vaccinated customers and workers are no longer required to wear masks in its stores unless required by individual state laws. 

“Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores,” it said

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

On May 20, grocery chain Kroger will be dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers and the majority of its workers, the company announced on Wednesday. However, employees working in Kroger’s pharmacies and clinics will still have to mask up.

Like other stores, the option to go mask-free still depends on state and local face covering protocols. 

 

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Wearing a mask will be optional for fully vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, the company said in a statement.

Masks will remain optional “unless local regulations require them by law,” the statement said.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Vaccinated Walmart customers are now allowed to shop without a mask, according to a memo sent to US store associates on Friday. Fully vaccinated Walmart workers also won’t be required to mask up in-store beginning May 18.

However, the company is still reviewing mask mandates for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will still adhere to mask requirements depending on city and state protocols, according to the note.

Bed Bath and Beyond

bed bath & beyond
A Bed Bath and Beyond store.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond told Insider that it was reviewing its policies, but that its mask policy currently remains unchanged.

They added that the company would continue to align its COVID-19 protocol with local, state, and government health and safety guidelines to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Fully vaccinated Home Depot customers and workers will not need to wear masks inside its stores, depending on state and local mandates, a spokesperson told Insider on May 17.

Home Depot “still encourages” people who aren’t fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings. It’ll also maintain safety protocols like cleaning and social distancing.

 

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told USA Today that masks will still be mandatory in its stores as these are COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites. 

Walgreens did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory. 

A spokesperson for the apparel giant did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

Florida-based supermarket chain Publix is no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated shoppers.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Carl’s Jr

Carl's Jr. Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr is still requiring face masks but is now reviewing its mask policy, a Carl’s Jr spokesperson told Insider.

Costco

Costco
Costco

Costco announced on Friday that customers can now shop without a mask in stores that are located in states without a mask mandate. The retailer will not require proof of vaccination.

However, as per CDC guidelines, face masks will still be required in Costco’s healthcare sections, including its pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid divisions.

Trader Joe’s

trader joes
Customers line up outside a Trader Joe’s store.

Trader Joe’s is also dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, and will not require proof of the vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.

Lidl

Lidl

A spokesperson for Lidl told Insider that it was updating its policies to align with the new CDC guidance.

“Wherever legally permissible, fully vaccinated customers will be allowed into our stores without masks,” they said.

Ikea

ikea
Customers wait to get inside Ikea.

An Ikea spokesperson told Insider that its mask and social-distancing protocols would stay in place “for the time being” for both staff and customers because “changing our mask policy for requires careful consideration and planning.”

JCPenney

FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside

Department store chain JCPenney told Insider that masks and social distancing will still be required in its stores as it continues to monitor the situation.

Apple

Apple store

Apple is also keeping masks mandatory in stores for the time being, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Insider reached out to Apple for further comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

CVS

cvs pandemic customers store
CVS.

Fully vaccinated CVS Pharmacy customers will no longer be required to wear face masks unless state or local protocols dictate otherwise, the company announced on Monday.

Employees and unvaccinated patrons will still be required to mask up.

Meijer

meijer
A Meijer store.

Supermarket chain Meijer has rolled back its mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers in stores where state and local protocols allow it to do so, a spokesperson told Insider in an email.

However, workers and unvaccinated patrons must remain masked.

Kohl’s

kohl's

Kohl’s confirmed to Insider that as of May 17 all fully vaccinated store workers and customers will be able to go mask-free, provided individual states allow it. 

Aldi

Aldi store shop

Aldi told Insider that it is continuing to require all employees and customers to wear a face covering and to maintain social distancing, but added that it would continue to assess its COVID-19 safety practices and keep customers informed of any future changes.

Office Depot

office depot
An Office Depot store in Annapolis.

Office Depot is currently reviewing its mask policy, a spokesperson told Insider on May 18, but will not be changing it or other COVID-19 safety protocols “immediately.”

Best Buy

Best Buy
Best Buy.

Best Buy dropped its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers and in-store workers On May 18. Like other retailers, the option to go mask-free still hinges on state and local protocols. 

Lush

People stand inside a Lush cosmetics store in Berlin, Germany, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
People stand inside a Lush cosmetics store in Berlin

A Lush spokesperson told Insider that it was reviewing the new CDC guidelines and planning its next times. It said that the safety of its staff and customers remained its “top priority.”

Subway

subway sandwich

A Subway spokesperson told Insider that the sandwich chain was evaluating its mask policy following the CDC guidance.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Home Depot, Costco, Target, and more are dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers. Here’s how stores are responding to new CDC guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Companies including Macy’s and Kroger have said workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask mandates. States can still set their own rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but not all retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Macy’s and Kroger are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask requirement – although individual states can still mandate masks in stores.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

Target updated its policies on Monday, announcing that fully vaccinated customers and workers are no longer required to wear masks in its stores unless required by individual state laws. 

“Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores,” it said

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

The grocery chain Kroger said it would keep masks mandates for its customers and workers at its nearly 3,000 stores.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” a Kroger spokesperson told Insider.

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Wearing a mask will be optional for fully vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, the company said in a statement.

Masks will remain optional “unless local regulations require them by law,” the statement said.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Vaccinated Walmart customers are now allowed to shop without a mask, according to a memo sent to US store associates on Friday. Fully vaccinated Walmart workers also won’t be required to mask up in-store beginning May 18.

However, the company is still reviewing mask mandates for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will still adhere to mask requirements depending on city and state protocols, according to the note.

Bed Bath and Beyond

bed bath & beyond
A Bed Bath and Beyond store.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond told Insider that it was reviewing its policies, but that its mask policy currently remains unchanged.

They added that the company would continue to align its COVID-19 protocol with local, state, and government health and safety guidelines to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Fully vaccinated Home Depot customers and workers will not need to wear masks inside its stores, depending on state and local mandates, a spokesperson told Insider on May 17.

Home Depot “still encourages” people who aren’t fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings. It’ll also maintain safety protocols like cleaning and social distancing.

 

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told USA Today that masks will still be mandatory in its stores as these are COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites. 

Walgreens did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory. 

A spokesperson for the apparel giant did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

Florida-based supermarket chain Publix is no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated shoppers.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Carl’s Jr

Carl's Jr. Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr is still requiring face masks but is now reviewing its mask policy, a Carl’s Jr spokesperson told Insider.

Costco

Costco
Costco

Costco announced on Friday that customers can now shop without a mask in stores that are located in states without a mask mandate. The retailer will not require proof of vaccination.

However, as per CDC guidelines, face masks will still be required in Costco’s healthcare sections, including its pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid divisions.

Trader Joe’s

trader joes
Customers line up outside a Trader Joe’s store.

Trader Joe’s is also dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, and will not require proof of the vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.

Lidl

Lidl

A spokesperson for Lidl told Insider that it was updating its policies to align with the new CDC guidance.

“Wherever legally permissible, fully vaccinated customers will be allowed into our stores without masks,” they said.

Ikea

ikea
Customers wait to get inside Ikea.

An Ikea spokesperson told Insider that its mask and social-distancing protocols would stay in place “for the time being” for both staff and customers because “changing our mask policy for requires careful consideration and planning.”

JCPenney

FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside

Department store chain JCPenney told Insider that masks and social distancing will still be required in its stores as it continues to monitor the situation.

Apple

Apple store

Apple is also keeping masks mandatory in stores for the time being, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Insider reached out to Apple for further comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

CVS

cvs pandemic customers store
CVS.

Fully vaccinated CVS Pharmacy customers will no longer be required to wear face masks unless state or local protocols dictate otherwise, the company announced on Monday.

Employees and unvaccinated patrons will still be required to mask up.

Meijer

meijer
A Meijer store.

Supermarket chain Meijer has rolled back its mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers in stores where state and local protocols allow it to do so, a spokesperson told Insider in an email.

However, workers and unvaccinated patrons must remain masked.

Kohl’s

kohl's

Kohl’s confirmed to Insider that as of May 17 all fully vaccinated store workers and customers will be able to go mask-free, provided individual states allow it. 

Aldi

Aldi store shop

Aldi told Insider that it is continuing to require all employees and customers to wear a face covering and to maintain social distancing, but added that it would continue to assess its COVID-19 safety practices and keep customers informed of any future changes.

Office Depot

office depot
An Office Depot store in Annapolis.

Office Depot is currently reviewing its mask policy, a spokesperson told Insider on May 18, but will not be changing it or other COVID-19 safety protocols “immediately.”

Best Buy

Best Buy
Best Buy.

Best Buy dropped its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers and in-store workers On May 18. Like other retailers, the option to go mask-free still hinges on state and local protocols. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

CVS, Walmart, Costco, Target, and others are dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers. Here’s how retailers are responding to new CDC guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Some companies, including Macy’s and Kroger, have said workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • But Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask mandates. States can still set their own rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but not all retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Macy’s and Kroger are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask requirement – although individual states can still mandate masks in stores.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

Target updated its policies on Monday, announcing that fully vaccinated customers and workers are no longer required to wear masks in its stores unless required by individual state laws. 

“Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores,” it said

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

The grocery chain Kroger said it would keep masks mandates for its customers and workers at its nearly 3,000 stores.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” a Kroger spokesperson told Insider.

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Wearing a mask will be optional for fully vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, the company said in a statement.

Masks will remain optional “unless local regulations require them by law,” the statement said.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Vaccinated Walmart customers are now allowed to shop without a mask, according to a memo sent to US store associates on Friday. Fully vaccinated Walmart workers also won’t be required to mask up in-store beginning May 18.

However, the company is still reviewing mask mandates for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will still adhere to mask requirements depending on city and state protocols, according to the note.

Bed Bath and Beyond

bed bath & beyond
A Bed Bath and Beyond store.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond told Insider that it was reviewing its policies, but that its mask policy currently remains unchanged.

They added that the company would continue to align its COVID-19 protocol with local, state, and government health and safety guidelines to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Home Depot has not updated its mask policy, a spokesperson told Insider.

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told USA Today that masks will still be mandatory in its stores as these are COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites. 

Walgreens did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory. 

A spokesperson for the apparel giant did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

Florida-based supermarket chain Publix is no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated shoppers.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Carl’s Jr

Carl's Jr. Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr is still requiring face masks but is now reviewing its mask policy, a Carl’s Jr spokesperson told Insider.

Costco

Costco
Costco

Costco announced on Friday that customers can now shop without a mask in stores that are located in states without a mask mandate. The retailer will not require proof of vaccination.

However, as per CDC guidelines, face masks will still be required in Costco’s healthcare sections, including its pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid divisions.

Trader Joe’s

trader joes
Customers line up outside a Trader Joe’s store.

Trader Joe’s is also dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, and will not require proof of the vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.

Lidl

Lidl

A spokesperson for Lidl told Insider that it was updating its policies to align with the new CDC guidance.

“Wherever legally permissible, fully vaccinated customers will be allowed into our stores without masks,” they said.

Ikea

ikea
Customers wait to get inside Ikea.

An Ikea spokesperson told Insider that its mask and social-distancing protocols would stay in place “for the time being” for both staff and customers because “changing our mask policy for requires careful consideration and planning.”

JCPenney

FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside

Department store chain JCPenney told Insider that masks and social distancing will still be required in its stores as it continues to monitor the situation.

Apple

Apple store

Apple is also keeping masks mandatory in stores for the time being, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Insider reached out to Apple for further comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

CVS

cvs pandemic customers store
CVS.

Fully vaccinated CVS Pharmacy customers will no longer be required to wear face masks unless state or local protocols dictate otherwise, the company announced on Monday.

Employees and unvaccinated patrons will still be required to mask up.

Meijer

meijer
A Meijer store.

Supermarket chain Meijer has rolled back its mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers in stores where state and local protocols allow it to do so, a spokesperson told Insider in an email.

However, workers and unvaccinated patrons must remain masked.

Kohl’s

kohl's

Kohl’s confirmed to Insider that as of May 17 all fully vaccinated store workers and customers will be able to go mask-free, provided individual states allow it. 

Aldi

Aldi store shop

Aldi told Insider that it is continuing to require all employees and customers to wear a face covering and to maintain social distancing, but added that it would continue to assess its COVID-19 safety practices and keep customers informed of any future changes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, and others are dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers. Here’s how retailers are responding to new CDC guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Some companies, including Target and Kroger, have said workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • But Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask mandates. States can still set their own rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but many retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Macy’s and Target are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask requirement – although individual states can still mandate masks in stores.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

A Target spokesperson told Insider that it was reviewing its policies and the new CDC guidance. But for now, the chain said, it will continue upholding all its coronavirus safety measures in stores, including wearing masks and social distancing.

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

The grocery chain Kroger said it would keep masks mandates for its customers and workers at its nearly 3,000 stores.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” a Kroger spokesperson told Insider.

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Wearing a mask will be optional for fully vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, the company said in a statement.

Masks will remain optional “unless local regulations require them by law,” the statement said.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Vaccinated Walmart customers are now allowed to shop without a mask, according to a memo sent to US store associates on Friday. Fully vaccinated Walmart workers also won’t be required to mask up in-store beginning May 18.

However, the company is still reviewing mask mandates for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will still adhere to mask requirements depending on city and state protocols, according to the note.

Bed Bath and Beyond

bed bath & beyond
A Bed Bath and Beyond store.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond told Insider that it was reviewing its policies, but that its mask policy currently remains unchanged.

They added that the company would continue to align its COVID-19 protocol with local, state, and government health and safety guidelines to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Home Depot has not updated its mask policy, a spokesperson told Insider.

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told USA Today that masks will still be mandatory in its stores as these are COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites. 

Walgreens did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory. 

A spokesperson for the apparel giant did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

Florida-based supermarket chain Publix is no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated shoppers.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Carl’s Jr

Carl's Jr. Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr is still requiring face masks but is now reviewing its mask policy, a Carl’s Jr spokesperson told Insider.

Costco

Costco
Costco

Costco announced on Friday that customers can now shop without a mask in stores that are located in states without a mask mandate. The retailer will not require proof of vaccination.

However, as per CDC guidelines, face masks will still be required in Costco’s healthcare sections, including its pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid divisions.

Trader Joe’s

trader joes
Customers line up outside a Trader Joe’s store.

Trader Joe’s is also dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, and will not require proof of the vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.

Lidl

Lidl

A spokesperson for Lidl told Insider that it was updating its policies to align with the new CDC guidance.

“Wherever legally permissible, fully vaccinated customers will be allowed into our stores without masks,” they said.

Ikea

ikea
Customers wait to get inside Ikea.

An Ikea spokesperson told Insider that its mask and social-distancing protocols would stay in place “for the time being” for both staff and customers because “changing our mask policy for requires careful consideration and planning.”

JCPenney

FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside

Department store chain JCPenney told Insider that masks and social distancing will still be required in its stores as it continues to monitor the situation.

Apple

Apple store

Apple is also keeping masks mandatory in stores for the time being, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Insider reached out to Apple for further comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Walmart, Costco, and Trader Joe’s are dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers. Here’s how other retailers are responding.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Some companies have said workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • Target, Macy’s, and Starbucks are among those saying they’ll still mandate masks in their stores.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but many retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Macy’s, Target, and Starbucks are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Other retailers are on the fence.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

A Target spokesperson told Insider that it was reviewing its policies and the new CDC guidance. But as of now, the chain said, it will continue upholding all its coronavirus safety measures in stores, including wearing masks and social distancing.

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

The grocery chain Kroger said it would keep masks mandates for its customers and workers at its nearly 3,000 stores.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” a Kroger spokesperson told Insider.

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Starbucks shoppers and workers will still be required to wear masks in stores, the company told CNN.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Vaccinated Walmart customers are now allowed to shop without a mask, according to a memo sent to US store associates on Friday. Fully vaccinated Walmart workers also won’t be required to mask up in-store beginning May 18.

However, the company is still reviewing mask mandates for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will still adhere to mask requirements depending on city and state protocols, according to the note.

Bed Bath and Beyond

bed bath & beyond
A Bed Bath and Beyond store.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond told Insider that it was reviewing its policies, but that its mask policy currently remains unchanged.

They added that the company would continue to align its COVID-19 protocol with with local, state and government health and safety guidelines to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Home Depot has not updated its mask policy, a spokesperson told Insider.

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told CNN that it was reviewing its rules in light of the CDC’s new guidelines.

Walgreens was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory.

A spokesperson for the apparel giant was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider.

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

The supermarket chain Publix is “awaiting additional guidance before implementing potential changes,” a spokesperson told Insider.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Carl’s Jr

Carl's Jr. Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr is still requiring face masks but is now reviewing its mask policy, a Carl’s Jr spokesperson told Insider.

Costco

Costco
Costco

Costco announced on Friday that customers can now shop without a mask in stores that are located in states without a mask mandate. The retailer will not require proof of vaccination.

However, as per CDC guidelines, face masks will still be required in Costco’s healthcare sections, including its pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid divisions.

Trader Joe’s

trader joes
Customers line up outside a Trader Joe’s store.

Trader Joe’s is also dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, and will not require proof of the vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Walmart, Target, and Starbucks say they’re keeping mask mandates despite the CDC relaxing guidance for vaccinated people. Here’s how stores are responding to the new guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Some states lifted mask mandates, but companies say workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • Target, Walmart, and Starbucks are among those saying they’ll still mandate masks in their stores.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but many retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Walmart, Target, and Starbucks are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Other retailers are on the fence.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

A Target spokesperson told Insider that it was reviewing its policies and the new CDC guidance. But as of now, the chain said, it will continue upholding all its coronavirus safety measures in stores, including wearing masks and social distancing.

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

The grocery chain Kroger said it would keep masks mandates for its customers and workers at its nearly 3,000 stores.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” a Kroger spokesperson told Insider.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Walmart said it would stick to its mask policy in stores for the time being.

“We serve millions of Americans every week and believe our policy of requiring associates and customers to wear masks in our stores has helped protect them during the pandemic, and we’re not lifting those measures at this time,” the company said in a statement shared with The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday.

A Walmart spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider.

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Starbucks shoppers and workers will still be required to wear masks in stores, the company told CNN.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Home Depot has not updated its mask policy yet, a spokesperson told Insider.

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told CNN that it was reviewing its rules in light of the CDC’s new guidelines.

Walgreens was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory.

A spokesperson for the apparel giant was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider.

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

The supermarket chain Publix is “awaiting additional guidance before implementing potential changes,” a spokesperson told Insider.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Walmart, Target, and Starbucks are keeping mask mandates despite the CDC relaxing guidance for vaccinated people. Here’s how stores are responding to the new guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers are seen wearing masks while shopping at a Walmart store, in North Brunswick, New Jersey, on July 20, 2020.

  • The CDC has relaxed guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully-vaccinated people.
  • Certain states have now lifted mask mandates, but some companies say workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • Target, Walmart, and Starbucks are among those still mandating masks in their stores.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday relaxed guidance for mask-wearing in indoor and outdoor spaces for fully vaccinated people – but many retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Walmart, Target, and Starbucks are among those who are still making masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores, they said Thursday. Other retailers are still on the fence.

Find out where you will and will not have to wear a mask, if you’ve been fully vaccinated, now the rules have changed:

Target

mask target store
Shoppers wearing protective face mask leave a Target store during the new coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Miami.

Target said in a statement shared with Fox Business that it was upholding all of its coronavirus safety measures in stores. As a result, customers and workers will be required to wear masks and stay socially distanced. 

A spokesperson for Target was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider. 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wears a mask to donate a frozen turkey at a north Jackson, Mississippi, Kroger grocery store on November 19, 2020.

Grocery chain Kroger is also keeping masks mandates for all of its customers and workers at its nearly 3,000 stores, CNN reported.

A spokesperson for Kroger was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider. 

Walmart

Walmart

Walmart is sticking to its mask policy in stores for the time being.

“We serve millions of Americans every week and believe our policy of requiring associates and customers to wear masks in our stores has helped protect them during the pandemic, and we’re not lifting those measures at this time,” the company said in a statement shared with The Columbus Dispatch

A spokesperson for Walmart was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider.  

Starbucks

Starbucks barista

Starbucks shoppers and workers will still be required to wear masks in its stores, the company said, according to CNN.

Home Depot

Home Depot

Home Depot told The New York Times that it had no plans to change its mask policy in stores. Insider reached out for further comment, but didn’t immediately hear back.  

Macy’s

macy's shoppers coronavirus masks shopping bags

Macy’s has not yet confirmed whether masks will still be mandatory in its stores. A spokesperson told CNN that it is currently reviewing its policies. 

Macy’s was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider. 

Walgreens

walgreens masks

Walgreens has not yet confirmed how it will react to the CDC’s new guidelines, but a spokesperson told CNN that it is reviewing its rules.

Walgreens was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider.

CVS

CVS NYC

CVS is reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

 

Gap

gap store
The Gap store inside the Westfield Topanga shopping mall in on Friday, June 26, 2020 in Canoga Park, CA.

According to The Times, Gap Inc is reviewing its policies, and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory.

A spokesperson for the apparel giant was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

See inside a defunct Macy’s that underwent a $3.5 million transformation to become a high school in Vermont

AP21084746326654
Downtown Burlington High School is located in a defunct Macy’s store.

  • A high school in Burlington, Vermont moved into a defunct Macy’s store.
  • The school district spent $3.5 million renovating the department store into classrooms.
  • Some abandoned malls across the US are being repurposed for other uses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
High school students in Burlington, Vermont are now attending school in what was once a Macy’s department store in a local mall, Lisa Rathke reported for the Associated Press.

AP21084746357769
Downtown Burlington High School.

Students at the school spent the previous six months learning remotely after toxic chemicals that can have dangerous health effects, called PCBs, were found in the school building. 

The district signed a six-month lease on the former Macy’s location, spending $3.5 million to renovate the 150,000 square foot space so it would be useable as a school, Seven Days Vermont reported.

AP21084746389155
Downtown Burlington High School.

Macy’s closed the location in 2018, but it’s still set up like a standard department store. Dividers separate the huge space into dozens of classrooms, plus a cafeteria, library, and physical education room.

Read more: 9 retail brands that are prime M&A targets in 2021, according to experts

The escalators are one of the features that make Downtown Burlington High School different from others. Students told the AP that escalators and elevators are “nice features” for students.

AP21084746281490
Downtown Burlington High School.

Some students and faculty told the AP that the lack of windows can be an issue, and noise travels because the dividing walls don’t reach the ceiling, but the temporary solution is working.

 “It’s way better than being stuck at home on your computer all day long,” Senior Lila Iyengar Lehman told the AP.

The cafeteria is in the space that once held Michael Kors products, and signs of the building’s previous life as a mall are still around.

AP21084746371573
Downtown Burlington High School.

Lunch buffets have replaced display cases.

“It’s amazing to think that we are standing in what used to be a department store,” Superintendent Tom Flanagan said at the opening ceremony.

AP21084746446475
Downtown Burlington High School.

“That we’re greeting people where we used to buy winter coats; reading books where they once sold fine China; taking phone calls in converted changing rooms; and learning science in the old suit racks,” he continued.

The china department was transformed into a library, and shelves that once held dinnerware now hold books for high school students.

Downtown Burlington High School
Downtown Burlington High School.

The gym, located in the warehouse, is still a work in progress.

Shuttered American malls are a symptom of the retail apocalypse that led to 9,300 store closings in 2019, 8,300 in 2020, and already more than 1,000 in 2021.

AP21084746481358 (1)
Downtown Burlington High School.

This trend is especially deadly for malls, which rely on anchor stores like Macy’s and Sears to drive foot traffic inside. 

As malls close, some simply sit empty and abandoned. Others are being repurposed for new uses.

AP21084746397091
Downtown Burlington High School.

Epic Games spend $95 million on a North Carolina mall with plans to turn it into a new company headquarters.

Other malls are being used as mass COVID-19 vaccination centers, including the Mall of America in Minnesota and the Townsquare Mall in New Jersey.

Read the original article on Business Insider

More than 1000 stores are closing in 2021 as the retail apocalypse drags on. Here’s the full list.

empty mall for lease
A strip mall store sits empty April 7, 2008 in Ontario, California.

  • Retailers have confirmed more than 1000 store closures in 2021 so far.
  • Disney, Best Buy, and Macy’s are a few of the stores planning to close locations this year.
  • More than 8,000 US stores closed last year, and experts predict 10,000 possible closures in 2021.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Retailers have announced plans to close more than 1000 stores this year, and experts say the total could reach 10,000 stores or more.

Mass closures, referred to as the retail apocalypse, have continued over the past few years. In 2020, more than 8,300 US stores closed, following 9,300 in 2019, according to Insider analysis. Research firm Coresignt predicts this trend will continue into 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic made online orders surge over the past year, but it wreaked havoc on brick and mortar retailers. Other retailers that didn’t close filed for bankruptcy, including J Crew, Nieman Marcus, and JCPenney.

Here’s a list of stores expected to close this year.

Disney: 60 stores

GettyImages 1230737834
Disney store.

Disney plans to close 60 stores across North America by the end of 2021 to focus on e-commerce, the company announced.

The closures will affect 20% of Disney’s 300 global retail stores before it looks at more potential closures, especially in Europe, according to CNBC. Japan and China will not be affected. Disney also acknowledged that this change would lead to layoffs but declined to say how many people will be impacted.

Best Buy: 5

Best Buy

Best Buy is closing five stores across the US in early 2021, the retailer confirmed to four local news outlets.

The retailer plans to close two Richmond, Virginia area stores, along with one store each in Syracuse, New York, Carbondale, Illinois, and Brockton, Massachusetts.

Francesca’s: 140

francesca's

Francesca’s filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in December and closed 140 of 700 total stores in January.

Read more: The CEO of Planet Fitness is preparing for a brick-and-mortar fitness boom as the company creates content to disrupt digital offerings made popular by the pandemic

Macy’s: 45

Macy's

Macy’s told employees at 45 locations that their stores would close in 2021, CNBC first reported.

The closures are part of the plan the retailer announced back in February 2020 to close 125 stores by 2023, about one-fifth of total locations. At the time, Macy’s also announced that it would cut 2,000 corporate jobs.

Bed Bath and Beyond: 43

bed bath and beynod

Home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond closed 43 stores in February, after 63 closures in 2020.

Paper Source: 11

Paper source store

Greeting card store Paper Source filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and announced plans to close 11 of its 158 stores.

Goodwill: 8

Goodwill store

Goodwill announced plans to close eight Bay Area stores this year.

The Children’s Place: 122

The Children's Place

Children’s retail apparel chain The Children’s Place plans to close 122 stores in 2021 to complete the 300 closure goal it previously announced, according to fourth-quarter earnings.

Justice: 200

Loft Outlet

Owner Ascena Retail Group, which also owns Ann Taylor and Loft, announced plans to close the remaining 200 Justice stores.

H&M: 350

GettyImages 1216823191
Shoppers walk past a H&M store in north London, UK.

Fast fashion retailer H&M plans to close 350 stores in 2021 and open 100, for a net loss of 250 stores. The company cited a rise in e-commerce.

Fossil: 65

Fossil store

Accessories retailer Fossil is closing at least 65 stores after decreased sales in 2020, BisNow reported.

DSW: 65

DSW

DSW has plans to close 65 stores over the next four years, making up 10% of total locations after a 36% drop in sales in 2020, Biz Journals reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider