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.


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.



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.


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 barista
A Starbucks barista.

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


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 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.


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 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 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.


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.”

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