Kroger and Walmart among other retailers are updating their mask policies in light of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC announced last week that it’s now recommending that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor spaces in areas where there is substantial or high transmission of the coronavirus.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the agency changed its mask recommendation because new data shows that some people infected with the highly transmissible delta variant can spread the virus to others even after being vaccinated.
Kroger, the largest U.S. grocery chain, said in a statement that it will require unvaccinated workers to wear masks and asks unvaccinated customers to do the same while in stores. The company is also encouraging all customers to wear masks at their locations, including those who are vaccinated.
“Our current mask guidance requires unvaccinated associates to wear masks and requests that unvaccinated customers wear masks when in our stores and facilities. In light of the delta variant and updated CDC recommendations, we strongly encourage all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask when in our stores and facilities,” wrote the company in part.
Kroger is also now offering its associates a $100 one-time payment for receiving the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Walmart will require their employees to wear masks in areas with high transmission of the virus and the retailer is strongly encouraging customers to wear face coverings too.
“As mentioned, we will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission. In these counties and where there are state or local mask mandates, associates will be required to wear masks inside our facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centers, and fulfillment centers,” wrote the company.
Walmart is also increasing the amount it’s paying its workers to get vaccinated from $75 to $150.
The Home Depot said beginning Aug. 2, they will require all of their workers to wear face coverings in its U.S. stores and is asking customers to wear masks as well.
“As the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the U.S., beginning August 2, we’ll require all associates, contractors, and vendors to wear a mask while indoors at all U.S. Home Depot stores, distribution centers, office locations, and customers’ homes or businesses, regardless of vaccination status. We’ll ask customers to wear masks while in our stores and continue to offer masks to those who don’t have one,” wrote the company.