Hy-Vee rescinds its mask requirement

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 8:55 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Hy-Vee has joined the growing chorus of retailers lifting their in-store mask mandates for employees and customers in locations where there is no state or local mandate.

The grocery chain made the announcement Tuesday, four days after the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention revised its guidance to advise that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors in most situations.

While the requirement will be lifted in Hy-Vee stores altogether, the company is still asking that customers who are not fully vaccinated yet continue to wear face coverings. To be considered fully vaccinated, someone needs to have gone two weeks since completing their vaccination series.

Employees who completed their vaccine series can stop wearing masks in Hy-Vee stores as well, the company noted. Its statement added that, while this safety precaution is being lifted, stores will continue with other coronavirus-related precautions that are in place, including maintaining the Plexiglas barriers at checkout stands.

Several other retailers have also lifted their rules regarding face coverings over the past several days. On Monday, Target rescinded its requirement. Costco, Sam’s Club, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart have also made similar moves.

The nation’s top infectious expert did acknowledge a bit of confusion in the wake of the CDC’s sudden switch, telling ABC News, “The problem and the issue is that we don’t have any way of knowing who is vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated.”

He says it is “reasonable and understandable” that some businesses and localities are maintaining mask requirements because they can’t be sure of an individual’s vaccination history. But he says it’s important to note those measures protect the unvaccinated from each other, and vaccines provide a high level of protection for those who have gotten them.

Fauci says children who are not vaccinated — including children under 12 who won’t be eligible for vaccines for months — should continue to wear masks indoors. But he says that recommendation could change as the CDC conducts more research and more Americans get shots.

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