CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT) — Heading to Kroger to do some grocery shopping? Remember to bring your mask.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and inside in most situations
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
“We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC.
The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot. The country’s aggressive vaccination campaign has paid off: U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began.
After the announcement was made Thursday, many wondered if their local stores would ease mask restrictions, especially after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state of Ohio is lifting all COVID-19 health orders, effective June 2.
Kroger released a statement Thursday saying at this time, “The Kroger Family of Companies continues to require everyone in our stores to wear masks.”
“We appreciate Gov. DeWine’s thoughtful approach to distancing and mask restrictions that acknowledge businesses’ need for continued flexibility to implement safety protocols,” Kroger said in its statement.
Although sharing its appreciation, Kroger says masks will still be required at area stores.
“We are encouraging and incentivizing associate vaccinations by offering a $100 one-time payment to associates who receive the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” Kroger stated.
WDTN will update Kroger’s status regarding its mask policy in the coming months as Kroger officials work with federal and state guidance.