“We’re encouraging all associates to get vaccinated and help end this pandemic,” the memo reads. “Do it for your health, your family, your friends, your community and your country — let’s help reach our national vaccination goals by the Fourth of July.”
Costco President and CEO Craig Jelinek announced the policy change in an open letter to customers, while saying that the large retailer still recommends mask wearing for all visitors, “especially those who are at higher risk.”
The retailer will still require masks in health care settings, including its pharmacy, optical and hearing aid departments, the letter states.
Costco stores will not require proof of vaccination, “but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy,” Jelinek wrote.
The policy changes were announced one day after the CDC dramatically loosened its masking requirements for those are who fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Under the new federal guidelines, anyone who is two weeks or more past their final vaccination can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without a mask or physical distancing.
However, the changes don’t immediately alter the mask rules in some states, such as California, where Walmart has 280 stores.
Several other national retailers, including Home Depot, announced Friday that they would be keeping their mask policies.
Kroger, which operates Ralphs and Food 4 Less stores, and CVS said in statements that they are reviewing their practices, but are requiring masks to be worn by employees and customers for the time being.
“We are currently reevaluating our position on masks given the CDC’s new guidance. Until that evaluation is complete, the existing company policies on face coverings and maintaining social distance in stores and clinics remain in effect,” Joe Goode, a CVS spokesperson, said in an email.