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Many plan to continue wearing masks despite lifted restrictions in Memphis

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 5:43 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With businesses now holding the power to enforce mask wearing, WMC checked in with some major retailers in the area.

“Nah, I’ll wear masks. I don’t know how many people haven’t had shots, but to be on the safe side I’m going to wear mine, faithfully,” Memphis resident Patricia King said.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcing people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to socially distance or wear masks outdoors and indoors in most cases, several Memphians say they are choosing to still mask up.

“Just like giving it up and going on with your life is not the way to approach it right, because there’s still people that can’t get the vaccination, there are children that still can’t get vaccinations. So, I think it’s appropriate that we still have this like mandate to wear masks just for each other until we get appropriate vaccination levels,” said Memphis resident Maddie Williams.

The City of Memphis also announced they will no longer enforce the mask mandate, but businesses can still require customers to mask up.

“Even if I go to a grocery store that say, ‘No you don’t have to wear one,’ I’m still going to wear mine, that’s my option,” Memphis resident Peter said.

Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Target, Costco, and Starbucks are following CDC recommendations and have dropped mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers and employees.

One major retailer that hasn’t is Kroger.

The grocery store said the following:

At this time, The Kroger Family of Companies continues to require everyone in our stores to wear masks. 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.

Additionally, we continue to encourage everyone to practice social distancing and frequent hand washing as well as consider the use of no-touch grocery delivery or low-contact grocery pickup.”

“I’d be more likely to go to businesses and frequent them knowing that they care about my safety and the safety of my family. So, I would just take my business there,” Williams said.

The Shelby County Health Department says we are still pretty far from herd immunity.

According to the state, only 27 percent of the county has been fully vaccinated. The county health department says we need more than 70 percent of the population to show evidence of immune response.

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