Starbucks, McDonald’s & Home Depot announce updated mask policies

Business

WGN TV Chicago 03 August, 2021 - 06:52pm 36 views

Do Target employees have to wear masks?

Like Walmart, Home Depot and Target said Monday they would encourage, but not require, all shoppers to wear masks in high-risk areas. Target said workers and shoppers outside high-risk areas would continue to be able to drop masks if vaccinated. The Wall Street JournalMasks Are Back On at Home Depot, McDonald’s and Target

FILE - This Oct. 17, 2019 file photo shows a McDonald's sign along Interstate 40/85 in Burlington, N.C. McDonald’s sales improved throughout the second quarter, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, as markets reopened globally, but the fast food giant still faces a bumpy recovery. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA) – Starbucks, McDonald’s and Home Depot have all announced changes to their mask policies as the U.S. sees another surge in COVID-19 cases.

Starbucks now “strongly recommends” customers wear face masks in stores, even if they are vaccinated. Some stores will also require masks if local laws mandate it. (You can learn more about the changes at Starbucks here.)

McDonald’s is also making changes, reports Reuters. The fast-food chain is requiring customers in “areas with high or substantial transmission” to start wearing face coverings again.

That new rule applies to vaccinated customers and unvaccinated customers. Unvaccinated customers were already required to wear a face covering, per CDC guidelines.

Home Depot recently made changes to its mask policy:

Walmart and Target recently announced similar changes, requiring employees to mask up.

The Centers for Disease Control is providing a way for the public to see the COVID-19 spread in their area.

Along with that, the CDC continues to push for the public to wear masks when “in public indoor settings.”

Read full article at WGN TV Chicago

Local businesses ask people to wear a mask indoors again, as vaccination rates rise

CBS 8 San Diego 04 August, 2021 - 08:20am

Kroger is the latest retailer to update its face mask policies after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made changes to its masking guidance due to increasing concern over the delta variant of COVID-19.

Kroger is now strongly encouraging all people inside its stores to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status. This is a shift from the company’s previous guidance which only asked customers who were unvaccinated to wear a mask.

“Based on the CDC’s science-based guidance and the input of our associates, we are updating our mask policy in a way that balances our values of safety and respect,” Kroger said in a statement. “We strongly encourage all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask when in our stores and facilities.”

The decision follows the CDC backpedaling some of its masking recommendations as the delta variant of the coronavirus becomes a cause for concern. The CDC is now recommending that even vaccinated people mask up indoors in counties where COVID-19 transmission levels are considered high or substantial.

Kroger already requires unvaccinated employees to wear masks and the company said it will continue to offer its employees a $100 one-time payment for getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kroger is not alone in updating its mask policies. Target on Monday announced it will once again require masks for employees and “strongly recommend” them for shoppers in some areas where COVID-19 is surging.

Similarly, Walmart, Home Depot and Sam’s Club reversed their mask policies. Walmart is requiring its workers, including those who are vaccinated, to wear masks in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates.

3 major companies announce updated mask policies

WANE 03 August, 2021 - 06:52pm

FILE – This Oct. 17, 2019 file photo shows a McDonald’s sign along Interstate 40/85 in Burlington, N.C. McDonald’s sales improved throughout the second quarter, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, as markets reopened globally, but the fast food giant still faces a bumpy recovery. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Starbucks now “strongly recommends” customers wear face masks in stores, even if they are vaccinated. Some stores will also require masks if local laws mandate it. (You can learn more about the changes at Starbucks here.)

McDonald’s is also making changes, reports Reuters. The fast food chain is requiring customers in “areas with high or substantial transmission” to start wearing face coverings again.

That new rule applies to vaccinated customers and unvaccinated customers. Unvaccinated customers were already required to wear a face covering, per CDC guidelines.

Home Depot recently made changes to its mask policy:

Walmart and Target recently announced similar changes, requiring employees to mask up.

The Centers for Disease Control is providing a way for the public to see the COVID-19 spread in their area.

Along with that, the CDC continues to push for the public to wear masks when “in public indoor settings.”

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Coronavirus: Starbucks, McDonald’s, Home Depot to require workers wear masks inside all locations

WPXI Pittsburgh 03 August, 2021 - 04:59pm

Starbucks Corp., McDonald’s Corp. and Home Depot Inc. are just three of the high-profile enterprises that announced plans Monday to resurrect mask requirements for workers, although McDonald’s - along with Target - will only enforce the measure in counties deemed at high risk for COVID-19 transmission by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Home Depot will require all associates, contractors and vendors to wear masks while indoors at all U.S. Home Depot stores, distribution centers and offices, as well as in customers’ homes and businesses, MLive.com reported.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our number one concern has been for the health and safety of our customers and associates,” the company said in a statement released Monday.

The home-improvement chain is also asking - but not requiring - that customers wear masks inside stores and will continue to offer masks to anyone without one, the outlet reported.

Starbucks will likewise require employees in its roughly 8,900 company-operated U.S. locations to wear masks beginning Thursday, is recommending patrons follow suit and will require patrons to comply in areas where local officials have already issued mandates, the Journal reported.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s updated policy applies to both company-owned and franchisee-owned restaurants, the newspaper reported.

The shifts are in response to updated CDC recommendations issued Friday urging vaccinated people in some indoor spaces to resume wearing masks because research indicates that vaccinated people may be spreading the highly-transmissible delta variant.

Home Depot requiring employees to wear masks again

NJ.com 03 August, 2021 - 04:01pm

Home Depot announced in a company statement it will require all U.S. employees to return to wearing face masks regardless of vaccination status and regardless of the store’s location.

The mandate went into effect Monday, and the home improvement retailer joins other notable companies like Target and McDonald’s in changing its policy.

Home Depot said it is following updated masking guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but will not mandate that customers wear masks.

“As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the U.S. ... we’ll require all associates, contractors and vendors to wear a mask while indoors at all U.S. Home Depot stores, distribution centers, office locations and customers’ homes or businesses, regardless of vaccination status,” Home Depot said in the statement.

“We’ll ask customers to wear masks while in our stores and continue to offer masks to those who don’t have one.”

There are 67 Home Depot store locations in New Jersey and over 2,200 locations worldwide.

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Christopher Burch can be reached at cburch@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisBurch856. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

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Home Depot requiring employees to wear masks again

WSAZ-TV 03 August, 2021 - 04:01pm

Home Depot announced in a company statement it will require all U.S. employees to return to wearing face masks regardless of vaccination status and regardless of the store’s location.

The mandate went into effect Monday, and the home improvement retailer joins other notable companies like Target and McDonald’s in changing its policy.

Home Depot said it is following updated masking guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but will not mandate that customers wear masks.

“As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the U.S. ... we’ll require all associates, contractors and vendors to wear a mask while indoors at all U.S. Home Depot stores, distribution centers, office locations and customers’ homes or businesses, regardless of vaccination status,” Home Depot said in the statement.

“We’ll ask customers to wear masks while in our stores and continue to offer masks to those who don’t have one.”

There are 67 Home Depot store locations in New Jersey and over 2,200 locations worldwide.

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com

Christopher Burch can be reached at cburch@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisBurch856. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.

NJ Businesses Change Mask Rules As COVID Cases Surge

Patch.com 03 August, 2021 - 12:39pm

NEW JERSEY — Target. Home Depot. Kohl's.

These are just some of the big-box retailers where New Jersey residents will once again be seeing store employees masked up. Many corporate retailers across America have issued new mask mandates in the past week, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends even the vaccinated wear masks in areas of high or substantial transmission — which is most of the nation.

On Tuesday, New Jersey recorded 1,173 new COVID cases and 10 more deaths. More tellingly, the state's seven-day average increased to 977 cases, more than quadruple what it was a month ago, according to NJ.com.

So far, Home Depot and McDonald's are the only two national companies that will be asking customers be masked as well. Walmart is also now requiring their employees be vaccinated.

Gov. Murphy has also not yet re-instated a statewide mask mandate. However, he announced Monday that any healthcare employee or "high-risk congregate setting" worker must be either vaccinated by Sept. 7, or undergo regular testing. This includes anyone who works in a New Jersey hospital or doctor's office, anyone who works in a nursing home, assisted-living facility or rehab center and those who work in prisons.

All of New Jersey's 21 counties except one (Warren County) are now in "high" or "substantial" levels of coronavirus transmission, according to the CDC. That means the CDC wants residents in those counties to wear face masks again in indoor public settings — even if they've been vaccinated.

Walmart is one of the most aggressive companies in America when it comes to pushing the coronavirus vaccine, announcing Friday they will begin verifying which employees have been vaccinated, "subject to local legal requirements."

Employees will be required to wear a mask in stores; customers are still only "encouraged." Walmart was paying employees $75 to get vaccinated but is now increasing that amount to $150. This includes new employees even if they were vaccinated months ago. And employees who already received the $75 incentive will receive $75 more on their Aug. 19 paychecks. This incentive program will remain in place until Oct. 4, 2021, said the company.

"We will implement a new process for verification of vaccine status for U.S. associates (subject to local legal requirements)," said Walmart in this company-wide statement Friday. "We will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission. This also includes campus offices, and you'll note the entire state of Arkansas is currently included."

The brand formerly known as Dunkin' Donuts will be requiring customers to wear face masks beginning in August, according to a statement on its corporate website.

"From the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our priority has been on the safety of our guests, franchisees, and their restaurant crew. To help bring consistency to Dunkin' locations across the country, we will now require that all guests wear a face covering while inside our restaurants beginning Wednesday, August 5," the donut franchise wrote in a memo dated July 30.

On May 17, Kohl's said "fully vaccinated customers are welcome to shop with or without a mask." But by Tuesday, the company reversed course, releasing this statement saying "Effective Tuesday, August 3, Kohl's will require our store associates in counties with substantial or high risk of transmission, as identified by the CDC, to wear masks while in store. We also recommend that customers in substantial and high-risk counties wear masks while shopping."

Now requiring masks of all store employees and said they would be "asking" shoppers to do the same.

"As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the U.S., beginning August 2, we'll require all associates, contractors and vendors to wear a mask while indoors at all U.S. Home Depot stores, distribution centers, office locations and customers' homes or businesses, regardless of vaccination status," said the company here. "We'll ask customers to wear masks while in our stores and continue to offer masks to those who don't have one."

"Based on the CDC's updated guidance, we require face coverings for our team members and strongly recommend face coverings for all guests in areas with substantial or high risk of transmission, as defined by the CDC," said Target corporate in this statement this week."

McDonald's announced Monday that all staff and customers must wear masks in areas of high or substantial transmission, regardless of vaccination status, FOX Business News reported.

"High" spread indicates over 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days. "Substantial" means between 50-99.99 cases within the same time period, and "Moderate" means 10-49.99 new cases.

Related: Face Masks Should Be Worn In Nearly All NJ Counties, CDC Says (Aug. 2)

COVID-19 Vaccines, Testing Now Mandatory For NJ Healthcare Staff (Aug. 2)

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I went to a party with 14 other vaccinated people; 11 of us got COVID | COMMENTARY

The Morning Call 03 August, 2021 - 09:37am

Given the way that I felt, it was what I expected. But it wasn’t supposed to happen: I’ve been fully vaccinated for months.

Five days earlier, I had gone to a house party in Montgomery County. There were 15 adults there, all of us fully vaccinated. The next day, our host started to feel sick. The day after that, she tested positive for COVID-19. She let all of us know right away. I wasn’t too worried. It was bad luck for my friend, but surely she wasn’t that contagious. Surely all of us were immune. I’d been sitting across the room from her. I figured I’d stay home and isolate from my family for a few days, and that would be that. And even that seemed like overkill.

The official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline stated that, since I was fully vaccinated, I didn’t need to do anything different unless I started developing symptoms. I’m an epidemiologist at a major medical research university, which has a dedicated COVID exposure hotline for staff. I called it, and workers said I didn’t need to do anything.

Then, I started to hear that a few other people who had been at the party were getting sick. Then a few more. At this point, 11 of the 15 have tested positive for COVID.

Fortunately, none of us seems to be seriously ill. When fully vaccinated people experience so-called “breakthrough” infection, they tend not to progress to serious disease requiring hospitalization, and I expect that will be the case for us. But I can tell you that even a “mild” case of COVID-19 is pretty miserable. I’ve had fever, chills and muscle aches, and I’ve been weak enough that I can barely get out of bed. I don’t wish this on anybody.

Our research group at work has shown that the COVID vaccine isn’t always fully effective in transplant recipients. I’m proud of the work we’ve done. But once I got the vaccine, I figured the COVID battle was over for me. Out of an abundance of caution I took an antibody test shortly after my second vaccine dose. It was off the charts.

As much as I hate me and my fully-vaccinated friends being sick, I’ve been thinking about what our little outbreak among means for the rest of us. Here’s what I’ve concluded:

State and local health departments, and the CDC, need to do a better job collecting and reporting data on breakthrough infections. The CDC announced in May that it was only going to collect data on breakthrough infections that led to hospitalization or death, which are fortunately rare. But that means that outbreaks like ours will fly under the radar. Any of us could infect others, apparently including other vaccinated people. It’s not clear if our group got sick because of a particularly virulent variant, because the vaccine is wearing off or for some other reason. Without good data, we’ll never know.

Fully vaccinated people exposed to COVID need to isolate at home and get tested. I thought I might be overreacting by leaving work in the middle of the day and immediately moving to our basement at home. Now I’m glad I did.

Governments and businesses should consider bringing back masking requirements, even for vaccinated people. We’re still at risk of getting sick, and we’re still at risk of infecting others. The CDC recently recommended masks for vaccinated people in areas with over 50 new infections per 100,000 people per week. In the seven days before my exposure, Montgomery County had 19.4 new infections per 100,000 people.

Pharmaceutical companies, research institutions and governments should prioritize research into booster vaccines. At one point it seemed like two mRNA doses or a single Janssen dose might be the answer. But apparently, whether because of variants or fading immunity, being “fully vaccinated” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re immune.

COVID-19 vaccines do an enormous amount of good. I expect a milder course of disease since I’m vaccinated. But COVID-19 isn’t over, even for the vaccinated. As the pandemic continues to evolve, we need to evolve with it.

Copyright © 2021, Baltimore Sun

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