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Trader Joe’s ends mask requirements in stores for fully vaccinated customers

The company did not indicate they would be checking for proof of vaccination at its locations.



[KIRKLAND] – (MTN) In an update on its corporate website, Trader Joe’s announced that fully vaccinated customers will no longer be required to wear masks in stores unless a local area guideline requires them. The grocery retailer, with 530 locations, is one of the first in the nation to officially adopt the policy in alignment with CDC guidelines on mask-wearing announced earlier this week.

“We encourage customers to follow the guidance of health officials, including, as appropriate, CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping,” the website said after it was updated on May 14.

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks indoors or out, according to the CDC with certain exceptions. Masks are still required in situations such as using public transport, visiting a hospital or prison, living or working in a homeless shelter, or being in areas where people are densely congregated. On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee announced that Washington state would adopt the CDC guidelines on mask-wearing. Businesses can set their own policies on mask-wearing and checking for proof of vaccination.

Trader Joe’s has locations in Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, and Sammamish, along with multiple locations in Seattle, and stores in Shoreline, Edmonds, and Everett in our local area.

Retailers, restaurants, bars, gyms, and other public businesses in King County are still in Phase 3 under the Safe Washington reopening program and can operate at 50% capacity. The Safe Washington reopening plan announced in March was essentially scraped by Gov. Inslee yesterday, with a new plan moving all counties to Phase 3 on May 18, and Washington state to full reopening on June 30.

The United States has administered over 250 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines nationwide. As of April 17, Washington state has administered more than 6 million doses, and over 43% of residents over 16-years old are fully vaccinated.

In King County, you can visit the Department of Health website to find a vaccination clinic, and many locations now support walk-up appointments. You can also visit the Facebook Group, Find a COVID Shot WA if you need language or technology assistance in making an appointment.

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