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As Masks Return, Retailers Ask for Respect

Major retailers could soon bring back mask requirements.

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As the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads, masks are making a comeback. And one retail trade group is asking customers for a little understanding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “is now recommending that people vaccinated against the coronavirus start wearing masks indoors again in areas with high transmission rates,” USA Today reports.

That raises the possibility that major retailers could bring back mask requirements, though they have not done so yet. The CDC in May stated that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks, and national retailers altered their policies accordingly.

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Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in a statement Tuesday:

Throughout the pandemic, keeping employees, customers and communities safe has been the guiding principle for retailers as we’ve found ways to keep stores open and safely serve our customers.

As the virus changes, variants spread, and vaccine hesitancy in some populations continues, retailers understand that CDC guidance may evolve and masks may be necessary again in some circumstances. We ask customers to be mindful of the guidance provided by local retailers, and that they respect employees and their fellow customers who may continue to wear masks for the safety of themselves and their family.

The best defense against the virus is getting more people vaccinated. Leading retailers are working diligently to help vaccinate Americans and are providing paid leave and other benefits to reduce any barriers for employees to be vaccinated. We salute the doctors and nurses who continue to valiantly battle this disease, and we continue to encourage all eligible individuals to get the vaccine so that we can collectively beat this virus.

Among RILA’s members are Target, Walmart, Petco and PetSmart.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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