Wearing a mask indoors is now optional if you are fully vaccinated!
After CDC's announcement last week, Starbucks and Chipotle become the nation's first restaurant chains to loosen their COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandate policy. Since last year, both the eateries followed the face covering and social distancing protocols to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Starbucks announced on their website that beginning May 17 fully vaccinated customers no longer need to wear masks indoors unless required by the local law. However, employees will continue to be masked, and the restrooms will be temporarily unavailable for use while the cafe seating remains closed. Chipotle issued a similar statement, saying wearing a mask is now optional for vaccinated diners.
"Starbucks is taking a number of actions to protect the health and well-being of our customers and partners (employees) and to control the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in accordance with the expert guidance of the CDC and local public health authorities," mentioned the company in their site. "Our commitment to you is that we will continue to make proactive decisions that are grounded in transparency and science–for our partners and the people we serve."
“We will continue to require our employees to wear masks,” said Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs officer, Laurie Schalow, in a statement. “However, fully vaccinated guests do not need to wear a mask inside of Chipotle restaurants, except where required by local regulations.”
Retail giants like Walmart, Trader Joe's, Costco, Publix, and CVS have already made masks optional for vaccinated customers.
“Because restaurants welcome people who are both vaccinated and not fully vaccinated, operators will still need to work with their state and local regulators to ensure they are in line with all other mandates in place. … The restaurant industry has always placed a focus on the health and safety of our workforce and our customers, so we are encouraged by the CDC’s decision and the potential it has to help move the restaurant industry closer to being fully reopened in all communities where the virus is not an immediate threat,” mentioned Larry Lynch, senior vice president of science and industry, in a statement.
According to CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
As of May 17, 48.1% of the nation's population has received at least one dose, whereas 37.7% of the population is completely vaccinated.
What is your take on the relaxation of mask mandate in the stores? Share in the comments.