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Starbucks updates mask policy for vaccinated customers

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A person wearing a protective mask enters a Starbucks coffee shop in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Starbucks has changed its policy for wearing masks inside its cafes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that fully vaccinated people don’t have to cover their faces indoors anymore.

Starting Monday, the coffee giant will now only require fully vaccinated customers to wear masks if it’s required by local or state law. The chain has required facial coverings inside its cafes since July 15.

Starbucks is one of the few restaurants and retailers that has updated its mask guidance after the CDC’s announcement. Walmart, Costco and Trader Joe’s are allowing mask-free shopping except when facial coverings are required by state or local mandate. On the other hand, Target, Home DepotGap and Ulta Beauty have all said they would maintain their pandemic precautions and continue to monitor developments in the weeks and months ahead.

The update to Starbucks’ mask policy does not appear to impact baristas’ own mask wearing. Since February, the coffee chain has required its restaurant workers at company-operated locations in the United States and Canada to wear multi-ply facial coverings, or double mask.

Shares of Starbucks have risen nearly 4% so far this year, giving the company a market value of $131 billion. The business has been battered by the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, but U.S. same-store sales returned to pre-pandemic levels during its fiscal second quarter.

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