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Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks

Trader Joe’s will no longer require customers to wear face masks inside of its stores.

The grocery store said on its COVID-19 webpage that it encourages “customers to follow the guidance of health officials, including, as appropriate, [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping.”

A spokesperson for the company told The Hill that masks are still required for its staff at this time. 

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The move comes a day after the CDC issued its much-anticipated guidance saying fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks in most settings.

Those who have been fully inoculated — defined as two weeks past the last required dose of a vaccine — won’t have to wear masks outdoors or indoors, and won’t have to maintain physical distancing.

However, the guidelines don’t apply in health care settings, correctional facilities and homeless shelters. The guidance also says that people still need to follow rules set by local businesses and workplace guidelines, meaning that private businesses could still require masks.

In addition, people are still advised to wear masks where required by laws, rules and regulations, including on airplanes, trains and public transportation.

Several states ended their mask mandates immediately after the CDC released its guidance, or are planning to do so soon.

But the guidance poses a challenge for businesses, as there’s no way to know who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Republicans have railed against “vaccine passports” requiring proof of vaccinations, and the federal government has said it won’t mandate such passports. Several GOP-led states have banned the so-called passports.

Trader Joe’s rule comes on the heels of another change that was quietly adopted; the company told USA Today that it is dropping senior hours at its stores, except where it’s required.