The president and the CDC can say what they want, but when it comes right down to it, the restaurants and retailers will have the final say about mask-wearing. These are the places millions of Americans frequent every day. Can I go to CVS without a mask? Safeway? Giant Eagle? Target? Walmart?
Of course, going maskless includes caveats: You must be “safely” vaccinated, which means it has been at least two weeks since you completed your shot. And certain areas are still excluded, like hospitals, airports, prisons, and public transit.
But for the rank-and-file American who needs to pick up a prescription, a cup of coffee, or a loaf of bread, freedom is in the air. Here is the latest for our Liberty Nation readers:
Walmart – Masks are not required beginning Tuesday, May 18.
Walgreens – Currently updating its guidelines.
Target – Masks are not mandated “except where local ordinances require them.”
Trader Joe’s – Face covers are not necessary when shopping.
Home Depot – Employees and customers no longer need to mask up unless local ordinance requires.
Starbucks – Masks are optional for vaccinated customers.
CVS – Masks are not mandated for vaccinated customers “except where local ordinances require them.”
Kroger – Wear your face covering.
Giant Eagle – The mask mandate is still in place.
Macy’s – Still mulling it over. No official announcement has been made.
It’s clear from this list of major retailers that mask mandates are being sown like patchwork across the business community as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths dwindles. Slowly but surely, business and government entities are loosening mask restrictions. But it is hardly a straightforward, across-the-board directive. The Biden administration, for example, called for an end to mask-wearing for those who have been vaccinated, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) still requires masks for the lower chamber.
To further confuse people, local communities are devising their own sets of mask rules, often in conflict with state mandates. Then there are the large venues, such as Disney World, Six Flags, baseball parks, and the like. Will these places reduce the mask requirements for patrons? They likely will and soon.
Place Your Bets Please
MGM Resorts – No masks are required for patrons, but employees will still wear them. (MGM includes the Bellagio, Aria, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, New York-New York, and Park MGM hotels and casinos.)
Caesars – Same as MGM. Customers can go without masks, but employees are required to wear them. (Caesars includes Flamingo, Bally’s, Caesars Palace, Rio, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, LINQ, Harrah’s, and The Cromwell.)
Wynn Resorts – No masks for guests or employees.
The Honor System
How do you know who has had the vaccine and who hasn’t? You don’t. But is this really a problem? Those who have not been vaccinated should pose no harm to those who have gotten the jab. And only those who have not been vaccinated need to worry about getting it from other non-vaccinated people. Of course, anything is possible, and there have been a few reported cases of vaccinated people getting COVID, but that is the exception rather than the rule.
The efficacy of masks has long been controversial. There is concern that paper masks could pose some level of respiratory harm, especially to those with various breathing problems. This is yet another reason to end mask-wearing sooner rather than later. The fact that there are so many disparate rules regarding face covers is actually beneficial for a free society because it demonstrates federalism and capitalism are still at work. So take a deep breath, America, it looks like the end is nigh for COVID-19.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.