TAMPA, Fla — It's looking like we are returning to normal. A handful of businesses are adjusting their mask protocols following the CDC's new guidance that masks are largely unnecessary for people who have been vaccinated.
Trader Joe's and Costco are all saying that customers who are fully vaccinated can go without a mask. For now, employees will still need to keep them on.
But at Publix, Walmart and Sam's Club, both fully vaccinated customers and employees can ditch the masks.
All of the companies say they will not require proof of vaccination but hope all customers respect the guidance.
There are of course also major retailers that are keeping their mask policies in place for everyone. That list includes Home Depot, Target, Starbucks and Macy's. For now, the mask rules stay in place -- that is until those companies have enough time to review the new guidance from the CDC.
It's a big decision for companies across the nation, And it's not just large businesses grappling with how to adapt to the CDC's new stance, local businesses also have to make their own decisions.
Ashley Nisheé owner of Ashley Nisheé Hair Studio is happy to have the power to decide back in her hands. And with that power, she is opting to leave it up to customers.
"A lot of the times once we get into my actual area itself, you know, they kind of look at me and go, 'Hey, I'm vaccinated, are you okay if I take it off?' Or 'hey, it's just you and I am here. Do you mind if I take it off?' and then some people don't say anything and they leave it on and then I also leave it on in respect for them," said Nisheé.
For businesses where you have customers constantly coming in and out, set policies are necessary. At the Poké Company in Channelside masks are required.
Staff wanted to continue the mask policy, and even though this might deter some customers, owner Anthony Federico felt it was the best choice to keep both employees and customers safe. "I'd rather be firm on what my beliefs are than to sway and be indecisive," said Federico.
For those going out in downtown St. Pete on Friday night, masks were rare to see, looking close to, or even better than pre-pandemic levels. But of course, we are still not there yet. Roughly 46 percent of people living in Pinellas County are vaccinated. Great progress, but still some ways to go.
What other people are reading right now:
- CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors
- Local doctors, county leaders weigh in on how CDC mask guidelines will impact you
- Internal investigation determines Sarasota officer who pressed knee on man's neck, back did not use excessive force
- Your guide to jumping on the Tampa Bay Lightning bandwagon
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