Trader Joe’s won’t require masks for vaccinated shoppers where mandates are lifted

Coronavirus

File – A store associate distributes hand sanitizer to customers as they enter the Trader Joe’s store in South Beach on April 14, 2020, in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

MONROVIA, Calif. — The California-based Trader Joe’s grocery store chain updated its mask guidelines Friday, writing that fully vaccinated shoppers won’t be required to wear face coverings in stores where local mandates are lifted.

The company updated its rules for customers after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated Americans can safely return to most public spaces — indoor or outdoor, large or small — without wearing a mask.

The key caveat, however, is that federal guidelines do not supersede mask mandates put in place by state or local health departments. Individual businesses can also choose to enforce their own guidelines.

“We encourage customers to follow the guidance of health officials, including, as appropriate, CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping,” the store wrote.

“We are vigilant; reviewing federal, state and local health advisories; and where it makes sense, adjusting efforts to safeguard the health and safety of our Crew Members and customers, as always guided by integrity and focused on doing what is right.”

In California, health officials said they are reviewing the CDC’s new advisory, but that face-covering rules remain in place for now. That means shoppers will remain masked at locations in the chain’s home state, though Trader Joe’s has hundreds of stores in other states across the country.

A spokesperson for the company told The Hill that masks will remain required for staff at all locations for now.

The move contrasts a decision by the country’s largest operator of supermarkets, the Kroger Family of Companies, which announced Friday that its thousands of stores across the U.S. will still require masks for both customers and employees, regardless of local guidelines.

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