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Starbucks, Chipotle drop mask rule for vaxxed customers

McDonald’s, meanwhile, said its mask requirement is still in place while it mulls how to proceed.
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Photo courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill

Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill have dropped mask-wearing requirements for vaccinated customers, just about 10 months after mandating face coverings inside their stores to slow the spread of COVID.

McDonald’s, however, said its mask requirement is still in place. But the Chicago-based burger giant has been conferring with the Mayo Clinic about the newly updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines as it decides how to proceed. 

Starbucks updated its facial-covering guidance over the weekend, saying that beginning Monday, masks would be optional for fully vaccinated customers, unless local regulations require them.

Chipotle on Monday said the lifting of its mask mandate only applies to diners.

“We will continue to require our employees to wear masks,” Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs officer, said in a statement to Restaurant Business. “However, fully vaccinated guests do not need to wear a mask inside of Chipotle restaurants, except where required by local regulations.”

Major retailers such as Target, Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s and CVS have similarly lifted the requirement that customers’ faces be covered inside stores.

The moves come as rates of coronavirus infections are dropping in all 50 states. Currently, nearly 60% of all U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, according to the CDC.

Late last week, the CDC made the surprise announcement that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, except in limited circumstances such as hospitals and airplanes.

The news surprised restaurant operators, many of whom are continuing to refine their own operations around face coverings.

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