As mask-optional policy goes into effect, South Florida shoppers speak out


No mask? No problem. That’s the new normal at some South Florida retailers following a change in face covering policy.

7News cameras captured a mix of maskless and masked shoppers at the Publix supermarket in Miami Shores, Saturday afternoon.

Shoppers who spoke to 7News said they’re not worried about the policy change that the supermarket chain began to implement, starting Saturday.

“If they have the vaccine, it should be fine,” said a shopper.

“I don’t have a problem with it at all,” said a shopper who identified himself as Mike.

Publix officials on Friday said wearing a mask at their stores is now optional for those who are fully vaccinated.

Officials stressed customers and employees who are not fully vaccinated still have to wear face coverings inside Publix stores.

The announcement came one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines that state fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks indoors, in most cases.

The new CDC guidance was met with a varied response from local Publix shoppers.

“If we’re vaccinated, then we should not have to wear masks anymore,” said a shopper.

“I’m going to be wearing my mask to protect myself,” said shopper Tyler Gatewood.

Others chains like Walmart, Winn-Dixie and Trader Joe’s have also followed suit, dropping their mask mandate for those who are fully vaccinated.

“I know people are very cautious about everything, so in my opinion, wear your mask if it helps you feel safer,” said a shopper.

“I think those of us that have been vaccinated should be able to go wherever we want to go and not be restricted,” said Mike.

For a list of policy changes at stores and local shopping centers, click here.

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.


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