Mississippi Mask Mandate Still Applies to These Stores

Mississippi lifted its mask mandate on Wednesday, joining Texas in loosening COVID-19 safety measures. But several major retailers, including Target, Starbucks and Best Buy, are keeping mask requirements in place at stores.

Some companies will tell employees to wear face coverings but will not enforce a mask rule for customers.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said on Tuesday that businesses could make their own COVID policies, adding: "The governor's office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and can't do."

Workers and shoppers at Best Buy, Target, CVS, Walgreens and JCPenney are still required to wear face coverings, CNN reported.

A spokesperson for Target said: "We require guests to wear masks or face coverings in all of our stores, except for guests with underlying medical conditions and young children.

"We also require all store team members to wear masks at work and have provided them with reusable and disposable masks. Those who have been vaccinated for coronavirus are still required to wear a mask and follow all social distancing guidelines, in line with current CDC guidance."

Walmart and Sam's Club, which is owned by Walmart, have required patrons to wear face coverings since July 2020. It is not yet known whether this remains in place in Mississippi. Newsweek has contacted Walmart for comment.

Kroger, the supermarket chain with 2,200 pharmacies and 220 clinics across the country, including 31 stores in Mississippi, is keeping its mask requirement.

"To ensure the continued safety of our customers and associates, the Kroger Family of Companies will continue to require everyone in our stores across the country to wear masks until all our frontline grocery associates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine," the company said in a statement.

Kohl's and cosmetics chain Ulta are also maintaining mask requirements, according to Bloomberg.

The Aldi grocery chain, too, is standing by its face covering policy, which applies at more than 2,000 stores across 36 states.

"We are aware of the mask mandate lifts in both Texas and Mississippi where we have store locations. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic we have been following CDC guidelines, and we do not plan to make any adjustments to our safety measures at this time," a spokesperson for Aldi told CBS News.

Best Buy California November 2020
Customers wearing masks wait outside a Best Buy store in Hawthorne, California, in November 2020. It is one of several retailers that will continue to require employees and shoppers to wear face coverings in Mississippi. Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

The wider picture

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 115.2 million people, including over 28.7 million in the U.S., since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.

More than 2.5 million people have died worldwide and more than 65.2 million have recovered as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, produced by Statista, illustrates how Americans are feeling more optimistic as COVID-19 vaccination continues.

Vaccine Progress Optimism

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the vaccine rollout across the country.

Vaccine rollout - Statista

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