Trader Joe's Just Made A Big Change To Its Mask Policy

This afternoon, Trader Joe's has announced that customers who have reached the point of full immunization after receiving a vaccine may shop without wearing a mask. However, Kenya Friend-Daniel, a spokesperson for Trader Joe's, informed CNN that workers will continue to wear masks. The other measures customers have grown used to, such as distancing during their wait for a cashier, will remain, according to the company's COVID-19 page. How the store intends to verify whether people have reached a point of immunity has yet to be either stated or seen.

This change in customer policy has occurred a day after the CDC's latest update to their recommendations. Now, unless other regulations say otherwise, mask wearing and social distancing is no longer needed for those who have been inoculated. Similarly, unless one works in a homeless shelter or detention facility, tests are no longer needed either.

Trader Joe's is the first company to embrace the loosening of mask regulations.

As another CNN report covers, though, not every store is so full throttle in its abandonment of masks. Kroger and Starbucks, for example, will keep their mask policies for the foreseeable future. So, one should bring a mask around with them to better navigate the patchwork mask policies we'll see.

Not everyone is on board

All that said, all Trader Joe's has done is announce masks will no longer be required. Considering that this is the same company that fired an employee who suggested a three strikes policy for customers noncompliant with their mask policy, it seems likely that Trader Joe's would be fine with not enforcing a mask policy in cases where customers have yet to reach immunization.

Because of this and other worries about worker safety, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) responded to the news that stores no longer need to require masks with a statement pointing our how the CDC has failed to consider their experience of the pandemic: "Millions of Americans are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, but essential workers are still forced to play mask police for shoppers who are unvaccinated and refuse to follow local COVID safety measures. Are they now supposed to become the vaccination police?" Already, as Forbes writes, frontline workers have faced violence again and again for implementing mask policies. However, the UFCW hasn't called for the end of relaxed restrictions. Rather, they request clarification on how these policies will be implemented to the benefit of everyone