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Retailers Continue to Relax Mask Regulations

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent update to their COVID-19 face mask recommendations has been met with a combination of relief, confusion, and worry. If you didn’t hear, according to the most recent update to the guidelines, fully vaccinated people (as in two shots of Moderna or Pfizer or one shot of Johnson & Johnson) are officially allowed to remove their face masks in public places and dial back the social distancing, though masks are still required on public transportation. Whether we’re ready for it or not, multiple retailers have been following up the change in the same vein.

Today, Target, CVS, and Starbucks have joined the list of retailers and businesses that are permitting fully vaccinated people to remove their masks while on the premises. Other retailers joining in on the movement include Trader Joe’s, Costco, Walmart, and Publix, though certain other retailers like Home Depot and Gap have remained firm on their masking policies.

These changes have prompted a couple of different outlooks in social media discussions. Some believe that these relaxed policies will encourage more people to get their shots so they don’t have to wear masks in public anymore. However, many have pointed out a rather sizable fallacy in this thinking: there’s no way for these places of business to actually verify whether a maskless person has been properly inoculated or not, and in fact, many people who have refused to get shots will likely just lie and say they got them (though, in fairness, that’s only to their detriment, as vaccinated people would be at substantially less risk).

“We are asking people to be honest with themselves,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told NBC. “If they are vaccinated and they are not wearing a mask, they are safe. If they are not vaccinated and they are not wearing a mask, they are not safe.”

According to current statistics, about 47% of US citizens have received at least one shot, while around 37% are fully vaccinated.

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