The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course on July 27 on some of its masking policies, recommending that even those vaccinated wear masks indoors in parts of the United States where there is "substantial or high transmission."
New York State had adopted the CDC mask and social distancing guidelines in May that said fully vaccinated people no longer had to wear a mask or social distance except where it's required by law or by businesses, or in certain public places. And several businesses updated their mask policies accordingly.
But many companies have revised their mask policies again, citing the spread of the virus and the contagious delta variant. Here are some of the mask-wearing policies we know of at major retailers around Long Island.
This is not a full list of stores across the Island, and some have not yet announced changes to their mask policies. We will be updating this list as we learn more.
Aldi: Aldi will no longer require the use of face coverings for customers and employees who are fully vaccinated, according to a statement on its website. It requires unvaccinated customers to continue all appropriate safety precautions, including wearing masks and social distancing.
King Kullen: As of May 25, King Kullen’s policy was updated to say face masks were no longer required for customers and associates who are fully vaccinated, including at its Wild by Nature locations, according to a statement from a spokesperson. Associates will be required to show proof of vaccination if not wearing a mask, and anyone unvaccinated should continue wearing them and taking safety precautions. King Kullen still "encourages all vendors, associates and shoppers to continue to wear masks in its stores and remains committed to its enhanced cleaning protocols and safety measures," the statement said.
Lidl: The company is requiring all employees to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, and recommends "that customers also wear masks and adhere to local laws and regulations with regard to indoor mask requirements," according to a statement on its website.
ShopRite: According to ShopRite’s parent company Wakefern’s website, ShopRite will continue to follow state and CDC guidance, will require unvaccinated associates to wear masks and is "requiring all associates who work in stores in areas where the rate of COVID transmission is substantial or high mask up at work." The website also says it recommends customers shopping in those areas also wear masks.
Stew Leonard's: As of May 19, Stew Leonard's told Newsday it will not require customers to wear masks. Employees are still required to wear masks.
Stop & Shop: A statement from a spokesperson said Stop & Shop strongly encourages all customers, associates, and suppliers to wear a face covering or face mask while inside the store.
Trader Joe's: As of May 19, customers who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks while shopping in stores, according to a statement from a spokesperson. Masks are still required for employees.
Uncle Giuseppe's: As of May 19, Chief executive Carl F. DelPrete told Newsday that customers will not be required to wear masks. Employees are still required to wear masks.
Whole Foods: Customers who are fully vaccinated may shop in stores without a mask, according to a statement on Whole Foods' website. The statement adds: "Unvaccinated customers, as well as those in areas where transmission is high are asked to continue to wear masks indoors."
CVS: As of May 17, customers who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks inside stores, the pharmacy said in a statement. Employees are still required to wear masks while at work, and those who are not fully vaccinated should also continue wearing masks.
Walgreens: Walgreens has updated its policy to require face coverings for all employees, regardless of vaccination status, according to a statement on its website. The statement continues: "We encourage all customers, including those who are vaccinated, to wear face covers in our stores to help limit the spread of COVID-19."
Rite Aid: According to a statement on its website as of July 4, fully vaccinated customers can shop without wearing a mask, "unless otherwise mandated by local government officials." Rite Aid will continue to ask those unvaccinated to continue wearing masks.
Starbucks: The chain has updated its website to say it "strongly recommends customers wear facial coverings while visiting our stores, regardless of vaccination status." Employees are required to wear masks while on shift, regardless of vaccination status, the statement said.
Chipotle: Masks are required for all employees, and are "encouraged" for people in "high COVID-19 transmission areas of the country," according to a statement on Chipotle’s website,
Other major retailers
Bed Bath & Beyond: Customers are required to wear a mask in stores unless they’re fully vaccinated and "the store is located in a state/location that has lifted its indoor mask mandates," a company spokesperson said.
Best Buy: Fully vaccinated customers and employees are no longer required to wear face coverings in its stores, but masks will be available for any customer who wants one, the company said on its website on May 18. Hand sanitizer will also continue to be available, the company said, and employees working in customers’ homes will still be required to wear a face covering, even if fully vaccinated.
BJ's Wholesale Club: The company said on its website that starting Aug. 2, "all BJ’s team members will be required to wear face coverings in areas with substantial or high transmission as defined by the CDC regardless of vaccination status." Those who are not fully vaccinated must still wear face coverings. It also encourages shoppers in those areas to wear masks.
Costco: The wholesaler updated its website with an Aug. 5 statement to say it "will follow the face mask regulations of the applicable state and local jurisdictions," but in areas "where COVID-19 transmission is high or substantial, per current CDC guidance, Costco strongly recommends that all members and guests wear face masks inside our locations."
Home Depot: Regardless of vaccination status, all associates, contractors and vendors are required to wear a mask indoors, according to a statement on its website. "We’ll ask customers to wear masks while in our stores and continue to offer masks to those who don’t have one," the statement said.
IKEA: In a statement on the company website on May 20, the home furnishings store said it was no longer requiring mask-wearing for fully vaccinated customers, "except where local orders still require it." The company added it continues to "encourage customers to wear masks to protect the unvaccinated population."
Kohl's: Kohl's issued a statement saying employees are required to wear masks in stores "in counties with high risk of transmission, as identified by the CDC." It also said it recommends customers in "high-risk counties" to wear masks inside.
Lowe's: In an update on its website on Aug. 2, Lowe's said its employees are required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, in stores and while working in homes or businesses. The statement adds: "Lowe’s will continue to abide by all state and local mask mandates. Stores will have signs encouraging customers to wear masks, and free masks will continue to be available for customers who request them."
Target: The company is requiring its team members to wear masks, the company announced in a news release this month, and "strongly" recommends customers to wear them "in areas with substantial or high risk of transmission, as defined by the CDC" in addition to where local mandates call for them.
Walmart and Sam's Club: The company said on its website that it’s following CDC guidance, "which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission." Associates will be required to wear masks indoors in those counties or where there are local mask mandates, the statement said.
Malls and shopping centers
Americana Manhasset: According to a spokesperson, since the Americana is an outdoor shopping center, individual stores are following their corporate brand policy regarding masks for customers and employees.
Broadway Commons: The Hicksville shopping center will allow vaccinated customers to go without a mask in the common areas, according to a representative. However, each store in the mall will have its own mask policy posted.
Shoppes at East Wind: In a May statement, The Shoppes at East Wind said masks are no longer required in outdoor spaces. For indoor spaces and the carousel, employees and customers who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks; unvaccinated employees and customers must wear masks indoors. The shopping center management reserves the right to ask for proof of vaccination at any time.
Simon Property Group Inc.: An updated statement on the website of the company that operates Roosevelt Field, Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove and Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station says fully vaccinated customers can enter without a mask or face shield at locations "where there is no state or local jurisdictional mask mandate." Those who are not fully vaccinated should continue wearing a mask.
Tanger Outlets, Deer Park and Riverhead: The outlets are evaluating the current policies along with federal, state and local guidance but are making no changes at this time, a spokesperson said in May, who added there may be differing policies within each store’s space as guided by their corporate policies. Masks or facial coverings are required by all shoppers, team members and associates on all Tanger properties at all times in all of the property areas, according to the outlets' website.
Westfield South Shore: A spokesperson for the mall in Bay Shore said in May it "continues to follow CDC and local guidelines regarding the wearing of masks and other health and safety policies," but added shoppers should check with specific retailers about any additional requirements.