Businesses face decisions on mask policies with May 21 end to restrictions


The decision by Gov. John Carney to end indoor mask mandates for vaccinated individuals leaves  retailers and restaurants with some tough decisions.

The restrictions in Delaware will be lifted effective May 21 following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determining that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

In neighboring Maryland, masks mandates immediately lifted over the weekend. 

The CDC still advises individuals to mask up in crowded indoor and outdoor locations. Mask restrictions are expected to continue in train and air travel.

The Delaware Restaurant Association advised members to not jump the gun on ending mask restrictions  and strongly  suggested staff  continue to wear face coverings. 

One potential  issue will be the reluctance of some customers to enter establishments with no mask requirements. Stores and restaurants obviously have no way of determining who has been vaccinated. 

Another potential issue is confrontations by customers over mask use or the lack thereof, the restaurant group  noted. 

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, announced that employees and customers who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks. Walmart, one of the nation’s largest employers, will require unvaccinated associates to wear face coverings.

Trader Joe’s, which recently opened its second Delaware store near Christiana Mall, will also allow vaccinated customers to go maskless. 

Costco, which operates a store near Christiana Mall, announced it will follow local mandates, which will in Delaware, will not require masks for vaccinated people. Exceptions will be the optical department and pharmacy, which will still require masks.

Target, after studying the issue, agreed to follow state mandates

A number of states had already ended or never had mask the  mandates that have been credited with slowing the spread of the virus prior to vaccinations getting underway.

The U.S. and Delaware are approaching or have exceeded  the 50% mark in the percentage of the population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Individuals ages 12 and up are now authorized to receive the vaccine. The number of new daily cases and deaths has declined as more people have received  shots. 


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