LIST: Are masks required? Cincinnati stores revise COVID-19 policies

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course to recommend that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant is fueling infection surges.

Above video: US federal workers to prove vaccination or mask up

Hamilton County — including Cincinnati — is seeing a substantial spread of COVID-19, health officials now say, prompting several area stores to again recommend masks while indoors. Below is a list of major stores in the area and their latest masking policy, listed in alphabetical order.

THIS LIST WILL BE UPDATED: Have a question about a store we missed? Email us at

Aldi has not updated its mask guidance:

“Following the latest CDC Guidelines, we will no longer mandate the use of face coverings in our stores for fully vaccinated customers and employees, unless required by state or local jurisdictions. There may also be local conditions, regulatory changes or laws that affect our guidance.

“We require that unvaccinated customers and employees continue all appropriate safety precautions, including wearing masks and physically distancing, to protect themselves and others.”

Face masks may be required for customers, depending on local mandates. Masks will be provided to customers who don’t bring their own. N95 masks with valves, and masks that do not cover your nose and extend below your chin— such as bandanas, are not permitted at Apple stores.

Based on the new CDC guidance, masks will be required for all employees as well as encouraged for guests located in high COVID-19 transmission areas of the country.

Costco has not updated its mask guidance:

“Costco locations will follow the face mask regulations of the applicable state and local jurisdictions.”

CVS has not issued mask guidance since May 17. That guidance reads, “customers who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear face coverings inside of our stores, unless it is mandated by state or local regulations. Customers who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing face coverings, and employees are required to do so while at work. Health, safety and science will continue to drive our decision-making process.”

Read the following statement from the company:

“Following the most recent CDC guidance, Dollar General will not require fully-vaccinated employees, customers and vendors to wear facial coverings or masks. All others are encouraged to continue wearing face coverings. This update applies across our organization and includes our stores, distribution centers, transportation teams and Store Support Center.

“In areas where local, county and/or state law mandates mask use, employees and customers are required to wear masks.

“Customer and vendor exceptions include situations where wearing a mask is not recommended due to age, a health or medical condition, or is otherwise exempted by state or local order.

“Employee exceptions include situations where the company is not able to otherwise provide a reasonable accommodation for certain medical conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs or the employee is otherwise exempted from the requirement by state or local order.”

Dollar Tree/Family Dollar
On masks, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores follow the latest guidelines from the CDC, as well as all local and state ordinances.

All Dunkin’ locations nationwide will require all guests to wear a face covering while inside its restaurants beginning Aug. 5. Dunkin’ employees are already required to wear face coverings in its locations.

Masks are now required for all employees and strongly encouraged for customers. Read the following statement:

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our number one concern has been for the health and safety of our customers and associates. 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. We’ll ask customers to wear masks while in our stores and continue to offer masks to those who don’t have one.”

Effective Aug. 3, Kohl’s will require store associates in counties with substantial or high risk of transmission, as identified by the CDC, to wear masks while in store. The retailer also recommend customers in substantial and high-risk counties wear masks while shopping.

Masks again are strongly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status:

“Our current mask guidance requires unvaccinated associates to wear masks and requests that unvaccinated customers wear masks when in our stores and facilities. In light of the Delta variant and updated CDC recommendations, we strongly encourage all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask when in our stores and facilities. We will continue to abide by all state and local mandates and encourage all Americans to get vaccinated, including our associates.”

Masks are now required for all employees and strongly encouraged for customers:

“The health and safety of our associates and customers continue to be our highest priority. Because of the increased cases of COVID-19 and the rapid spread of the delta variant, effective August 2, Lowe’s associates are required to wear masks indoors at all U.S. locations and while working in a customer’s home or business – regardless of vaccination status. Lowe’s will continue to abide by all state and local mask mandates. Stores will have signs encouraging customers to wear masks, and free masks will continue to be available for customers who request them.”

McDonald’s told USA Today it will require its customers and staff to wear face coverings again inside its U.S. restaurants in areas with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission, regardless of vaccination status.

Meijer has not updated its masking guidance:

“We ask all customers who are not fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, to wear a mask while they shop at our stores and maintain social distancing. Subject to local, state and federal health and safety recommendations.”

Starbucks will require customers to wear masks while in its stores where it is mandated by local mandates. Starting Aug. 5 all company-operated store partners are required to wear facial coverings, regardless of vaccination status.

Masks are now required for all employees and strongly encouraged for customers. Read the updated statement:

“The health and safety of our guests and team members have been Target’s top priority throughout the pandemic. Target continues to recommend face coverings for unvaccinated team members and guests at all stores across the country. 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. We’ll follow all local mandates, as we have throughout the pandemic, and continue to monitor guidance from the CDC closely.”

Trader Joe’s has not updated its masking guidance:

“We encourage customers to follow the guidance of health officials, including, as appropriate, CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping.”

Walgreens has reinstated face-covering requirements for all Walgreens team members – regardless of vaccination status:

“As many states continue to see increasing levels of COVID-19 activity due to the Delta variant, we have reinstated face cover requirements for all Walgreens team members – regardless of vaccination status – in our stores, distribution centers and offices nationwide, effective Aug. 4.

“We continue to monitor and follow the latest guidance from the CDC and local and state health officials, and we encourage all customers, including those who are vaccinated, to wear face covers in our stores to help limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Walmart is requiring employees to be vaccinated by October, also requiring them to wear face coverings:

“We will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission. In these counties and where there are state or local mask mandates, associates will be required to wear masks inside our facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.”

Read the following statement regarding masks in Whole Foods Market:

“Customers and Team Members who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are welcome in most of our store locations without a mask. Unvaccinated customers are asked to continue to wear masks. Masks are still required in U.S. and Canada stores with a state/provincial or local mandate, for all Team Members in the U.K., and for any Team Member outside of the U.K. who has not provided a proof of vaccination to the company. Please note that based on recent CDC guidance, we do recommend both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers and Team Members wear masks indoors in areas where transmission is high.”

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