Target Drops Mask Requirement for Fully Vaccinated Customers
In the wake of new guidance last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that said fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in most situations, Minneapolis-based Target Corp. was among retailers who indicated that it would continue to enforce mask mandates in its stores.
“Target will continue to require all of our coronavirus safety measures in all stores, including masks and social distancing, while we review updated guidance from the CDC and re-evaluate the guidance we offer our team and guests,” a Target spokesman told USA Today last week.
Apparently, there were a few high-level meetings over the weekend.
On Monday morning, Target issued a new statement at approximately 7 a.m.: “Given the CDC’s updated guidance last week, Target will no longer require fully vaccinated guests and team members to wear face coverings in our stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances. Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated.”
But masks will still be required in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The CDC made its announcement about largely dropping mask requirements last Thursday afternoon. But by Thursday night Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made it clear that the city’s mask mandate would remain in place for now.
“The Minneapolis indoor mask requirement will stay in place while we review the data, consult our health experts, and analyze the unique circumstances and vaccination rates for our communities across our city,” said Frey in a statement issued last week.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has said that the mask mandate remains in place for licensed business and city-controlled facilities in the capital city.
Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Costco were among retailers dropping mask requirements for the fully vaccinated last Friday.
On Tuesday, Richfield-based electronics retailer Best Buy said it would no longer require masks in stores for inoculated customers and guests. But, like Target, the company will still defer to local mask regulations. “We recognize that the CDC’s new recommendations are a signal that things are indeed improving,” Best Buy officials said in a statement. “Our goal now is to navigate through this period of transition as safely as we possibly can, for our employees and our customers.”
Retail requirements for masks have been something of a moving target in the last few days as companies adjust policies and track what their competitors are doing. Coffee giant Starbucks also updated its policy, making masks optional for fully vaccinated customers on Monday.
When the CDC issued its updated guidance last week, it prompted some to wonder if businesses could start returning to downtown Minneapolis sooner than expected. But then Mayor Frey said that the city’s policies would remain in place for now.
So, what does this mean for downtown?
“The CDC’s recommendation and Governor Walz’s decision to end the mask mandate statewide added more momentum to the recovery that is beginning to take hold strongly downtown,” said Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, in a statement. “We are anxious to see this decision extend to Minneapolis businesses and residents as soon as possible.”