Retail stores and new CDC mask updates

So the CDC just announced that masks are not needed if you are fully vaccinated (outside of certain places). This caught retailers off guard for sure.

Obviously stores can continue to ask patrons to mask up, but I feel like this new policy puts businesses, especially small businesses, in the position of being the mask or vaccine police.

We own a small business and one of our store’s family members is immunocompromised and unable to be vaxxed yet. So we are going to require customers to mask up if they come in (we also offer curbside and online sales). But I worry that our staff will not be having to police people who come in. And if they say they are vaccinated we aren’t about to start asking to see cards.

I really wish the CDC had consulted with some trade organizations before announcing this.

Those of you who are eager to throw away the masks, how would you feel if a small business asked you to wear one?


Currently, are businesses in your area requiring masking on their own, or due to a local health order? If there is a local health order, has it been changed, or will it be changed based on the CDC stance?

Is the medical situation where (a) they cannot receive the vaccine now, or (b) they can receive the vaccine now, but it will likely be less effective for them? If (b), then they may want to ask their physicians whether they can get vaccinated now for at least some protection, and then get vaccinated again later for better protection after they are no longer immunocompromised.

I do not mind, since I recognize that there are still significant numbers of people who have started the vaccination process but will not be fully vaccinated until late June (or July for age 12-15; plus also how concerned are we about under 12 children who cannot get vaccinated yet?).

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Kroger stores are still requiring masks. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other big chains continuing to require them.

Yikes! Kroger web site is down. I hope it’s not another “ransom” situation, as that has never happened before.

Retailers will be slower to relax mask requirements (as expected) but it will happen, eventually. I’m glad the CDC came out with their announcement. I just wish it had been sooner.

Trust the science.

In our state, masks have been required everywhere and compliance (in my county at least) is near 100%. Our customers lean a little more liberal and so we have not had too many issues. I already heard from another small business that they are now having to confront customers all day who don’t want to mask up any more.

The family member is under 12 and unable to be vaxxed but has very serious health issues. Think cancer or heart defects, having undergone major treatments over the years.


I’ve been vaccinated and would have no problem masking up for a situation like you’ve described.

But I would have a sign that explains your reasoning and a supply of masks. I’m afraid that people won’t be prepared.

I went into a gas station this morning. The sign said masks are required and the employees were wearing them. About 1/2 of the customers were not though. I of course wore a mask.

I wish we had a person here who had more knowledge about this though. It’s a very complicated situation

I’m wearing my mask indoors until way more people are vaccinated. As of this morning, all the stores still has mask requirements.


I saw this in my Facebook feed and thought it hit the right notes. From a small specialty store in my area

After the CDC announcement we looked again at the state restrictions, and also our staff comfort level since since we have immunocompromised family and not all of our employees are vaccinated yet. We are going to still requiring masks in our store.

I know we all want normal and trust us, wearing a mask all day, every day is no fun. But if it helps even a little, we’re going to keep using them.

As always, if you can’t wear a mask we would love to help you get some cheese. You can call in an order or order online and do curbside pickup.

Thank you everyone who continues to support us during these times. :hugs::yellow_heart::hugs:


I have no problem at all carrying a mask with me, and wearing it wherever asked. I agree w/ @deb922 's suggestions.

I did not understand the logic of the new CDC recommendation at all, exactly for the reason you described @surfcity. I understand the science, but not the policy decision. Those who did not want to wear a mask before, or get the vaccine, will now just have the freedom to do so, without any social pressure.


I’d have no problem masking up. I carry a box of masks in my car and a mask in my purse.

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The social science is that, to someone who has not yet been able to be fully vaccinated (including those who have started the process but not yet two weeks past the final dose), an unmasked fully vaccinated person (who is not a significant COVID-19 threat) cannot easily be told apart from an unmasked unvaccinated person (who can be a significant COVID-19 threat).


“I really wish the CDC had consulted with some trade organizations before announcing this.”

That would add even more politics to the process. The science – not to mention common sense – on this has been clear for awhile.

But to your question: I would have zero qualms about respecting any (large or small) business’ requirements to mask and social distance.


I think it’s reasonable to ask customers to keep masking indoors for now, but over the next few months it will become harder and harder to enforce as people get used to being ‘back to normal’ – depends a little on your area and customer base, which you know best. A lot of folks here on CC have no problem masking up, but there are also a lot of people out there who are going to stop or weren’t doing it in the first place.

The good news is that fully vaccinated people are far, far less likely to spread the virus, in fact I haven’t heard of any instances at all – which is a big part of why the CDC is relaxing recommendations. So as long your employee and as all the adults/teens who live with the immunocompromised child are vaccinated, there’s very little risk they will pass anything to her.

I guess maybe more accurately I meant to say, I wish the CDC had given some notice to businesses or said, “effective May 20th” or something, because that would give us time to figure out our own policies and post them. And I wish the CDC had stressed that individual private business can maintain their own policies.

As it turns out, people are streaming into stores unmasked and demanding to be served, catching businesses off guard.


So because a few unvaccinated people will not mask, we should maintain mask requirements for everyone, including the fully vaccinated?

I’ve had my shots. When can I get rid of my mask?

Was the state (or local) mask requirement removed?

For the general case, six to eight weeks (based on Moderna vaccination timeline plus two weeks for scheduling convenience) from when your area had easy vaccine availability for all adults. That is when unvaccinated adults will largely be those who voluntarily choose to be unvaccinated, rather than those who want vaccine but have not yet been able to be fully vaccinated. When in a place where there are people of age 12-15, about five to seven weeks from now (based on the Pfizer - BioNtech timeline from when it was approved for that age group), or late June to early July.

However, you should still be aware that a few people are medically unable to be vaccinated, and some under-12 children may be especially vulnerable (e.g. as mentioned by the OP), so there may be some situations where you may be asked to mask. (Also, masks may also be specified for non-COVID-19-specific reasons, such as in some hospital situations.)


Check the NY Yankees. NY Yankees Covid-19: How vaccinated members tested positive for coronavirus - CNN

They have 8 cases among vaccinated members of the organization. Undoubtedly they must have spread to each other. All the cases are very mild and most are asymptomatic and were just caught because of testing protocols by MLB.


Clearly the situation differs by state and sector, but in CA, grocery store and restaurant employees were eligible for vaccination in mid-February. So at what point would you actually have a negative reaction to a store or restaurant announcing that “not all of our employees are vaccinated yet”?

Would you be less likely to frequent a restaurant because it’s been three months and the owners haven’t insisted that their employees get vaccinated? Would your reaction be worse if they had “immunocompromised family” and had not insisted on vaccination at the earliest opportunity?

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This is a great case study – but it’s also totally possible they were all around the same unvaccinated person/people. And, did any of the vaccinated people who tested positive then pass it on to a close contact? Excellent to hear that 7/8 were asymptomatic

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