Where can fully vaccinated people shop without a mask in Central New York?

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As New York prepares to adopt the CDC mask guidance for those who are fully vaccinated on Wednesday, May 19, many Central New York businesses are changing their own policies for customers and staff.

NewsChannel 9 reached out to several businesses to learn of the changes.

Many stores will be following along with the state’s and CDC’s new mask policy for fully vaccinated folks. Those stores in Central New York include:

  • Wegman’s
  • Tops Supermarkets
  • Aldi
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Price Chopper
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Kinney Drugs
  • Walgreens
  • Costco
  • Starbucks
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Best Buy
  • Kohl’s

As of Wednesday morning, Wegman’s spokesperson, Evelyn Ingram has confirmed to NewsChannel 9 that all New York Wegman stores will allow vaccinated shoppers inside without a mask.

“In accordance with the latest CDC guidance, fully vaccinated customers are no longer required to wear a face covering in our stores. It’s the first time in over a year that customers will not be required to wear facemasks while shopping inside the grocery store chain,” Ingram said in a statement.

In a statement sent to NewsChannel 9, Tops Supermarkets says all vaccinated people, including employees, can ditch the mask.

Our mask policy, effective Wednesday, May 19th when Tops stores open, per CDC guidelines and New York State Executive Order, face coverings are optional for those individuals who are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear a face covering. This includes all individuals age two or over able to medically tolerate a face covering.

Tops Supermarkets Statement

Price Chopper says in a statement it will switch from requiring face coverings for all to “recommending” face masks for customers, including those who are vaccinated.

In states that have adopted the CDC recommendation and changed the face covering requirement for vaccinated people, we will go from requiring face coverings to recommending face coverings for customers. Because they interact with each other and thousands of customers each day and their safety remain our top priority, our teammates will be expected to continue always wearing face coverings.

Price Chopper Statement

This is similar to Walgreens and Trader Joe’s policy, which still requires its employees to wear a mask while on the job.

A Walgreens spokesperson said the following to NewsChannel 9…

Beginning May 19, Walgreens will no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear face coverings inside of our stores, unless mandated by state or local regulations. Customers who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing face coverings, and our team members will continue to wear them while working. The health and safety of our customers and team members will continue to guide our decision process.

Walgreens Statement

With all of this in mind, some shoppers say they’re still going to keep the mask on.

“If I’m going out without a mask, there’s no way for me to know who in the store, for example, is vaccinated or not,” said Gokul Samudrala.

“I probably will shop with a mask because putting my faith in other people right now is a little scary,” said Denise Vacco.

Others who are vaccinated feel comfortable ditching their mask and are ready to get back to life without them.

“It’s absolute heaven. I can’t bare that mask anymore,” said Barbara Sessler. “I’ve been fully vaccinated and so many people have it. I think the masks, if you’re vaccinated, you’re fine.”

I think it just gives us a sense of normal life cause we haven’t had no masks for over a year. So, I think it’s just going to make everything better from every day life, grocery stores, going outside, working out, I just think it’s going to be an overall better lifestyle for people

Josh Miller

NewsChannel 9 also reached out to the Syracuse Hancock Airport and the spokesperson there says the mask requirements will remain the same.

TSA extended their mask policy through September, 13, 2021.

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