Businesses Leery of Role as 'Vaccination Police'

New CDC guidance on masks leads to different responses across US
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 14, 2021 12:56 PM CDT
Businesses, States Take Own Approaches to CDC Guidance
Christoph Cunningham of Detroit said he's fully vaccinated but wore a mask Friday on his way to lunch at a bar. "I'll eventually take my mask off," he says. "I might take it off to make other people comfortable. ... If you don't feel comfortable not wearing a mask, I think you should be able to keep...   (AP Photo/Ed White)

Several states immediately and enthusiastically embraced new guidelines from the CDC that say fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or out in most situations. But other states and cities and some major businesses took a wait-and-see attitude Friday amid questions of whether the new stand is safe or workable, given that there is no easy way to know who has been vaccinated and who hasn't. The guidelines essentially leave it up to people to do the right thing. Details, per the AP:

  • Several major chains, including Home Depot and grocer Kroger, announced that they would keep mask mandates in place for now.
  • On an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek described the new guidelines as “very big news" and hinted that there could be a change to the mask requirement at Disney parks in the near future.

  • States such as Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Kentucky, Washington, and Kansas announced plans to fall in line with the CDC guidance either immediately or in the coming weeks.
  • Other states, such as Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island, were waiting, though a spokesperson for Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said an update was coming “in the near future." California’s Department of Public Health said it was still reviewing the guidelines.
  • Labor groups and others warned that employees at stores, restaurants, and other businesses could be left exposed to the coronavirus from customers and could be forced into the unwanted role of “vaccination police.”
  • The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said the 1.7 million-member union is still trying to sort out what the change means. Many schools already had been ditching mask orders in recent weeks.
(Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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