Stores ease mask requirements, but some South Floridians not ready to ditch them


Retail giant Walmart and other chains have announced masks are not mandatory for fully-vaccinated customers, but some South Florida shoppers said they will continue to wear their masks while inside of the stores.

While shopping at a Hallandale Beach Walmart Friday night, Milton Williams said he welcomes the stores easing mask requirements.

“Everybody’s tired of wearing masks, and those types of things get frustrating,” Williams said. “I think it would be a good thing for people to be able to start adjusting back into society and living normal again.”

The retail giant’s announcement comes 24 hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced fully-vaccinated people do not have to wear masks indoors in most instances.

“Vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask, and we will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in our stores,” Walmart said in a statement.

However, some shoppers question how the stores will enforce the change in policy, and they said they will continue to wear their masks for now.

“I think it’s kind of a bad thing,” shopper Bobby Kruse said. “It gives people an opportunity not to wear a mask, even if you aren’t vaccinated. For me, I still wear a mask because I really don’t trust people.”

“I honestly don’t think it’s a good thing because, like, the spread is going to continue,” shopper Emery Louembe said. “The masks, in a way, it helps. It helps.”

Publix Supermarkets announced its change in policy in a statement released on Friday. It will go into effect on Saturday.

“As a result of the recently updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, Publix will no longer require fully vaccinated associates or customers to wear face coverings,” a Publix spokesperson wrote. “Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to use face coverings.”

Trader Joe’s, meanwhile, recommends its customers to follow CDC guidelines, saying customers who are fully vaccinated will not have to wear a mask.

“I’m going to wait until it’s 99.9% people vaccinated before I let go,” a shopper said.

“I just think it’s too early,” shopper Edel Pontes said.

Costco said if there is no state or local mask mandate, the company will allow fully-vaccinated people to ditch their masks.

Meanwhile, Florida’s theme parks are reevaluating their mask rules.

Universal Studios Orlando announced guests will not have to wear masks while outdoors, but they must wear a mask indoors and while waiting in line for rides.

Walt Disney World is phasing out temperature checks at their parks this weekend, and they are reevaluating their face mask policy.


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