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Masks likely still required when you go grocery shopping

(MyNorthwest Photo)

Despite updated guidance from the CDC and Gov. Inslee regarding mask wearing on Thursday, many grocery stores across Western Washington will continue to require masks.

Fred Meyer, QFC, Safeway, and Albertson’s will still requiring masks from all customers at this time, even if you’re fully vaccinated.

Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer and QFC stores, told KIRO Radio that the company is reviewing safety practices, CDC guidance, and getting feedback from employees before taking any next steps.

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Safeway and Albertson’s are also taking a pause to speak with state and federal agencies.

Costco announced on Friday that it will not require masks if you’re fully vaccinated, except where required by state law. Starting May 18, masks are also not required in Walmart stores. And many other stores, like CVS, Walgreens, and Target, are reviewing their policies, according to Business Insider.

Beginning Monday, Starbucks will not require masks for fully vaccinated customers in its stores, unless required by law. In its announcement, Starbucks did not address whether this applies to its employees.

Gov. Inslee said Washington state will follow the updated guidance about masks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fully vaccinated people.

The CDC’s new guidelines ease indoor mask-wearing guidance for those who are fully vaccinated, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.

Inslee says the state will soon update its own rules to reflect the change, stressing that the rules only apply to those who have been fully vaccinated.

The governor clarified that masks will still be required in hospitals, long-term care facilities, doctor’s offices, correctional facilities, homeless facilities, schools, and on all public transportation.

Individual businesses, including stores and restaurants, will still legally be allowed to require customers and employees to wear masks if they wish, but there will no longer be a requirement from the state.

As Streamline Tavern owner and former KIRO Nights host Mike Lewis pointed out that grocery store employees, bar owners, and restaurant servers will be the ones who have to figure out how to enforce different mask rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated customers. Read more.

The Department of Health announced on Thursday it’s recommending schools full reopen in the fall. Seattle Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones noted that it would “be ideal” to not continue to have masking requirements for students, SPS will still “follow the guidance of public health officials.”

KIRO Radio’s Nicole Jennings contributed to this report.

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