Home Depot Follows Suit, Drops Hardline Mask Mandate

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK - MAY 20: Shoppers patronize Home Depot announced 7.1% revenue growth in the first quarter of 2020 on May 20, 2020 in Farmingdale, New York. The company beats analysts estimates as home-improvement stores were deemed essential services during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Home Depot is the latest major retailer to drop its hardline mask policy, following others such as Target, Walmart, and Starbucks.

Home Depot is among the latest to drop its policy requiring all customers to wear a face-covering in the stores. Per a spokesperson, fully vaccinated customers will no longer be required to wear a mask, but unvaccinated individuals “must still wear masks in Home Depot stores and in states where mask mandates remain in place, a company spokesperson for the home improvement chain told CBS MoneyWatch.”

However, like other retailers, it does not appear Home Depot will ask customers for proof of vaccination.

Home Depot’s policy falls in line with changes recently embraced by other major retailers, such as Walmart, Target, and Starbucks.

“We will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in our stores and clubs. We will update the signage in our facilities to reflect this,” a Walmart memo read.

Similarly, Target will no longer require all customers to wear face coverings but will continue to “strongly” recommend unvaccinated individuals do so.

“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,” the company said in a statement this week.

Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks also updated its guidance last week, making facial coverings will “optional” for vaccinated customers “unless local regulations require them by law.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said it is “perfectly reasonable and understandable” for certain businesses to leave mask mandates in place given that they “don’t have any way of knowing who is vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated,” referring to it as both a “problem” and “issue.”

“I think that’s where the confusion arises because there are some establishments who are saying, ‘Well, I’m going to have people coming into my establishment or my store or what have you. Some are going to be vaccinated, some are not. I’m not going to know the difference,’” he said.

“Some might be infected and might actually have a risk of infecting someone else,” Fauci added. “And under those circumstances, it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable for the owner of that establishment to say, ‘You know, we’re going to keep the mask mandate up.’ And that’s what we’re seeing”:

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