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One major retailer drops mask requirement, but some shoppers are not ready to drop the mask

Trader Joe's announced Friday, all of their stores would no longer enforce shoppers to wear masks if they're fully vaccinated. This comes after the CDC released new guidelines allowing those vaccinated to stop wearing masks indoors. Still, some shoppers aren't ready for that change just yet.

Posted: May 15, 2021 12:05 AM

CHICO, Calif. - Privately owned businesses have the option to enforce their own rules when it comes to wearing masks.
and with new guidance from the CDC, some major retailers are even relaxing their rules.

A lot of the people shopping Friday were vaccinated but still went inside to shop with their masks on.

They say they were happy to see a little bit of what was, before the pandemic, coming out of these relaxed rules.

"Freedom. Freedom, yeah freedom," said Brenda and Joe Crotts.

You may notice something missing from Trader Joe's front entrance.

"I'm becoming very comfortable with that," said Joe.

There are no longer signs requiring people to wear a mask when they shop.

"Although it feels unusual to not wear it in a store," he said. "But that'll probably rub off in another day or two."

"It feels weird, it feels weird," said Karin Webber who went shopping today without a mask. "But this is the first time and Dr. Fauci said that we don't have to wear them anymore if we're fully vaccinated anymore, and I am!" she said.

As unusual as it feels to be inside shopping without a mask, it's allowed for those that are fully vaccinated. Still, some people that also have the vaccine are not quite ready to put the mask down for good.

"I think to go shopping they should wait a little bit longer actually," said Nancy Kennedy. "I know a lot of children aren't vaccinated yet, and we need to protect them too."

"But I still put it on," said June McLane. "In fact, I went back to get it because I forgot it. No, I'm going to stick with it for a while."

Even though the state and Butte County have not changed their guidelines to match the CDC's, some businesses like Bird in Hand in Downtown Chico are waiting for that to happen before changing their rules.

"Wonderful, we're going to get past masks sooner rather than later," said Bird in Hand Owner Thad Winzenz. "But we're going to continue to follow what the state and the county are recommending."

Winzenz says he'll keep enforcing masks at his store to protect everyone.

"For our business, we have a wide range of ages families involved," he said. "We want to keep this as safe as possible, and make sure we've got the best environment possible where people can come, shop, and feel very comfortable."

Although the customers can come in without a mask, the employees still have to wait for the county to update their mask guidelines before they no longer have to wear them.

Walmart says they'll no longer require masks for employees and customers who are fully vaccinated starting Monday.

One local Safeway branch told Action News Now, they're also waiting for the county to update their guidelines.

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We'll be sunny with slightly above average temperatures again on Wednesday afternoon. The threat of thunderstorms will keep our fire danger high today, with more widespread thunderstorms Thursday. Dangerous heat returns this weekend and will persist through at least the start of next week.
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