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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A growing list of large retailers has begun to ease mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers, after the CDC issued guidance last week saying vaccinated people can do most activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing.

Driving the news: Target and CVS Pharmacy on Monday were among the latest to update policies to allow fully vaccinated guests in their stores without face coverings, unless it is required by local law.

  • CVS will still require employees to wear masks while at work.

Worth noting: Target is also "providing paid time to U.S. hourly team members when they get their vaccines" as well as offering free Lyft rides, up to $15 each way, for their workers to drive to and from their vaccine appointments.

State of play: Face coverings will become optional for vaccinated Walmart employees starting Tuesday. The retailer, which was among the first to remove its mask requirement for customers, announced it will offer workers a $75 bonus if they show their completed vaccine cards to a store leader.

  • Walmart will let employees work without a mask if they answer “yes” to being inoculated during a daily health assessment, since "integrity" is one of their core values.

Some stores, including Gap, Home Depot, Walgreens, Ulta Beauty, Carl's Jr., Ikea, JCPenny and Apple still require masks, according to Business Insider.

  • Starbucks, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Publix have already removed their mask mandates, CNBC notes.

Go Deeper: How retailers are responding to the latest CDC guidance

Go deeper

May 17, 2021 - Axios Tampa Bay

Where you do and don't need a mask to grocery shop in Tampa Bay

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Now that the CDC says fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks both outdoors and indoors, grocery stores are changing their policies.

Driving the news: Publix will no longer require customers and employees who are fully vaccinated to wear masks in its stores, the Lakeland-based chain announced Friday.

Point of intrigue: The maskless policy is based on the honor system. Let's see how this plays out.

  • Costco is doing the same in states that have dropped their mask mandates (that's us).
  • But, you still have to wear a mask in the Costco pharmacy, optical and hearing aid departments, USA Today reports.

What else: Walmart and BJ's — along with dropping mask requirements — are also giving a $75 bonus to its workers for getting vaccinated, which will require proof, per USA Today.

Trader Joe's employees still need masks, while vaccinated customers don't.

  • Ditto for Starbucks.

Where you still need a mask: Macy's, Target, Kroger and others who are still reviewing their policies.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
May 17, 2021 - Health

CDC mask guidance sparks confusion, questions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CDC's surprise guidance last week freeing the fully vaccinated to go maskless sowed plenty of concerns across the country— even earning the "Saturday Night Live" treatment for all the questions it spurred.

Why it matters: With plenty of Americans still unvaccinated — and without any good way to confirm who has been vaccinated — some experts worry this could put many at increased risk.

May 16, 2021 - Health

CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky told "Fox News Sunday" that political pressure had nothing to do with the agency's sudden announcement that fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks in most indoor settings.

Why it matters: Emerging evidence shows vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus, as COVID-19 cases and deaths drop. But the responsibility to uphold the abrupt policy change falls to individuals and businesses.