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4 Major Grocery Stores That Just Changed Their Mask Rules

If you're shopping—and fully vaccinated—here are the markets where you can leave your mask in the car.

The week saw a significant milestone in COVID-19 pandemic progress: On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted the national face mask requirement for individuals who are fully vaccinated. By late Friday, several grocery chains around the country had revised their own mask policies to reflect this update—some for their employees, as well as their customers.

It's important to note that, as some of these supermarket brands have stated, their guidelines remain subject to state and local masking regulations. It's also worth remembering that while this is a thrilling update for those who are fully vaccinated, national infectious diseases authority Dr. Anthony Fauci has reminded us that this does not mean the pandemic is over.

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Click through to learn where you can now grocery shop mask-free if you're vaccinated.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's

On Friday, Trader Joe's appeared to be the first to make their announcement lifting face mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers. "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," their site stated.

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USA Today reported Friday that Costco was one of the first to enact masking requirements in their stores. Following that fashion, they were also among the first to end their masking requirements for fully vaccinated customers, though Costco CEO Craig Jelinek stated these stipulations in a letter to members: "In Costco locations where the state or local jurisdiction does not have a mask mandate, we will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield. Face coverings will still be required in healthcare settings, including Pharmacy, Optical, Hearing Aid. Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield."

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Even though Walmart is still closing dozens of stores to prevent COVID-19 spread, they have announced that starting Tuesday, May 18, fully vaccinated Walmart customers and employees will no longer be required to wear masks in Walmart, as the retailer told FOX 8 on Friday. Walmart said they will ask employees about their vaccination status as part of a health assessment.

Sam's Club

Sams club grocery store
Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

USA Today said that at Sam's Club, the mask mandate was lifted, effective immediately, and will not require proof of vaccination. Like Walmart, fully vaccinated Sam's Club employees can work mask-free starting Tuesday, May 18. Employees will be asked about their vaccination status as part of a health assessment.

Note that other major grocery chains, like Aldi, Target, Giant Eagle, and more, are reportedly evaluating their masking policies. At this time, others, like Kroger, have stated that for the protection of their locations' communities, their masking requirements will remain in effect.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy