AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Texas ends its mandatory mask policy starting on Wednesday, March 10, many businesses now have the option to end mandatory mask policies within stores. Some are choosing to do so, while some will keep a mask policy in place for now based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Grocery stores that will keep masks mandatory
H-E-B and Central Market
The largest grocery store chain in Texas updated its policy Friday, March 5, saying “mask use at our stores will remain” for shoppers, employees and vendors.
In a release, H-E-B says “while statewide policy has changed, our store protocol has not. Mask use at our stores will remain. Our signs requiring mask use will remain posted at entrances and we will continue to make announcements in store. We will continue to expect shoppers to wear masks while in our stores. Additionally, we will still require all our Partners and vendors to wear masks while at work.”
Originally, after Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement, H-E-B said it would “strongly encourage” that customers wear masks, but it wouldn’t require them to do so.
Costco also requires masks for both customers and employees. It too says this is to simplify its policy and avoid confusion.
Sprouts will still require customers wear face masks saying it is doing so “in light of CDC recommendations.” Sprouts has face coverings for free for those who do not bring their own.
Target says it will continue to require customers entering the store to wear masks. Target says it will provide customers with a reusable or disposable mask if needed.
Walmart requires masks for both customers and employees. It says this is to simplify its policy and avoid confusion. However, Walmart has said employees are not required to enforce the store’s mask mandate.
Wheatsville Co-op released a message on social saying despite the state relaxing rules, “at this time we are choosing to keep our staff and shoppers as safe as possible when in our stores and will not be changing our safety protocols.” Wheatsville added it will change this when leading health organizations recommend it.
Whole Foods requires all shoppers and workers to wear face masks. It provides face masks for free at all store entrances for customers who do not have their own.
UPDATE: A viewer alerted KXAN to part of the Whole Foods policy that is not detailed on its website about COVID-19. Whole Foods told KXAN if a customer refuses to wear a mask, they will be offered a face shield. If the customer refuses to wear a face shield or mask, they must pass a health screening. If the customer passes the health screening, they will then be allowed into the store without a mask.
In a new statement Friday, March 5, Randalls said masks WILL BE REQUIRED for workers, vendors and customers, regardless of the statewide mandate being lifted:
“We will continue to look to the CDC’s recommendations to determine our safety practices and look forward to the vaccine being readily available not only to front line teams but to the general population in the coming months.“