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National retailers, local restaurants dropping mask requirements for vaccinated people
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National retailers, local restaurants dropping mask requirements for vaccinated people

National retailers, local restaurants dropping mask requirements for vaccinated people

A sign at Schoop's last month required customers to wear masks when not seated at their tables.

National retail giants like Walmart, Target, Starbucks, CVS and Costco, along with some Northwest Indiana-based businesses, have been dropping mask requirements for fully vaccinated people after the Center for Disease Control said inoculated people no longer need to wear masks indoors.

Local establishments like Doc's Smokehouse and Craft Bar in Dyer and the Heston Supper Club in LaPorte County also have been dropping their mask requirements.

"In accordance with the state of Indiana and CDC recommendations/advisories — masks will no longer be mandated to dine with us by guests or by employees," the Heston Supper Club posted. "Though we encourage both our employees and guests who have not been vaccinated to continue to wear a mask, it will no longer be required while in the restaurant unless the state of Indiana or county of LaPorte once again mandates it. The overall health of both our employees and guests will continue to be our number one priority as we begin to transition back into normalcy."

Coming Sunday, ride along with Specialist Dyer as he patrols LaPorte.

Tap House 1233 in Lake Station moved seats back to the bar in response to the new guidance. Its employees continue to wear masks, and it continues to encourage people to wear masks if they haven't been vaccinated.

Walmart is no longer requiring employees to wear a mask so long as it has been two weeks since they received the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson. The Arkansas-based retail giant, which has multiple locations across Northwest Indiana, is giving vaccinated employees $75 as an incentive.

Unvaccinated employees must still wear face masks, and Walmart requests that non-vaccinated customers continue to wear face coverings.

Along with a growing list of retailers that includes Trader Joe's and Sam's Club, Target also is dropping its mask mandates for vaccinated customers.

"The health and safety of our guests and team members have been Target’s top priority throughout the pandemic, and we’ve closely and consistently followed the CDC’s recommendations over time. Given the CDC’s updated guidance last week, Target will no longer require fully vaccinated guests and team members to wear face coverings in our stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances," a Target spokesperson said. "Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores. Target is offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments at nearly all CVS at Target locations for guests and team members. We’re also providing paid time to U.S. hourly team members when they get their vaccines and free Lyft rides, up to $15 each way, for our team to get to and from their appointments."

Aldi also adjusted its policies as of Tuesday.

"After careful review of the latest CDC guidance and thoughtful discussions with teams across our organization, we have decided to amend our COVID-19 safety procedures. Effective Tuesday, May 18, we will no longer mandate the use of face coverings for customers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless required by state or local jurisdictions," an Aldi spokesperson said. "We require that unvaccinated customers continue all appropriate safety precautions, including wearing masks and physically distancing, to protect themselves and others. Effective May 26, Aldi employees who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear a face covering. There may also be local conditions, regulatory changes or laws that affect our guidance."

After careful review of the latest CDC guidance and thoughtful discussions with teams across our organization, we have decided to amend our COVID-19 safety procedures. Effective Tuesday, May 18, we will no longer mandate the use of face coverings for customers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless required by state or local jurisdictions. We require that unvaccinated customers continue all appropriate safety precautions, including wearing masks and physically distancing, to protect themselves and others. Effective May 26, ALDI employees who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear a face covering. There may also be local conditions, regulatory changes or laws that affect our guidance.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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