CHARLOTTE — Businesses in North Carolina have been updating their face mask rules following Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement that lifted most mandates for face coverings.
It means that in most settings -- indoors or outdoors -- the state no longer requires North Carolinians to be socially distanced or wear a face mask. There are certain settings where masks and other safety measures will be required, however, such as public transportation and health care settings including hospitals.
Cooper said some restaurants, other businesses and venues may continue to have restrictions or mask requirements but that they no longer are mandated to do so.
Charlotte businesses are handling the changes differently.
Dylan George is the general manager of Pasta and Provisions, which has several locations across Charlotte. He said masks still are required in their stores for customers who are not fully vaccinated, although he admits it is a tough policy to police. “It’s really easy to say, ‘I’m fully vaccinated,’ and waltz right in,” he said.
Taylor Russell of Smelly Cat Coffeehouse said they have dropped the mask requirement for customers, but employees are still required to wear one. “Moving forward, we’ll probably stop wearing masks, but we’re not there yet,” she said. “We are all so used to it now, that it will be a big change for us.”
The coffeehouse still is operating as a take-out window only, although Russell said her staff is fully vaccinated. She said the inside cafe may not reopen to customers until the end of the year, or until more people get vaccinated.
Employment attorney Michael Morrison said even though the Centers for Disease Control and the state have loosened mask requirements, businesses have the right to still require them.
“You can walk around, and you might see the ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’ signs on establishments. It’s similar to that,” he said.
Molly Jensen wore her mask while picking up coffee at Smelly Cat.
“I think it’s just up to the person, so I’m comfortable wearing it now even though I’m fully vaccinated. I think I’m doing it more so for employers behind the counter, just to make sure everyone else is safe,” she said.
Here is a list of local grocery stores, restaurants, breweries, and entertainment and sports venues and their latest mask polices:
Aldi -- Not requiring mask
“After careful review of the latest CDC guidance and thoughtful discussions with teams across our organization, we have decided to amend our COVID-19 safety procedures. Effective Tuesday, May 18, we will no longer mandate the use of face coverings for customers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless required by state or local jurisdictions. We require that unvaccinated customers continue all appropriate safety precautions, including wearing masks and physically distancing, to protect themselves and others. Effective May 26, ALDI employees who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear a face covering. There may also be local conditions, regulatory changes or laws that affect our guidance.”
Food Lion -- Not requiring masks
“In accordance with CDC guidance, customers or associates who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to wear masks or face coverings in our stores unless mandated by state or local order. We will continue to require all non-vaccinated associates to wear masks or face coverings while working in our stores and will continue to support customers and associates who choose to wear masks or face coverings even if they are fully vaccinated. Customers that are not fully vaccinated are still required to wear a mask or face covering to shop in our store.”
Harris Teeter -- Not requiring masks
“Beginning May 20, fully vaccinated shoppers and fully vaccinated retail associates are no longer required to wear a mask in our stores, unless otherwise required by state or local jurisdiction. If there is a state or local mandate, we will adhere to that requirement and its timeline. Associates in our pharmacy will be required to continue wearing a mask due to the CDC’s guidance for healthcare settings. We request that non-vaccinated shoppers continue to wear a mask while shopping our stores.
“We will respect the choice of individuals who prefer to continue to wear a mask.”
Kroger -- Not requiring masks
“Starting May 20, fully vaccinated customers and most fully vaccinated associates no longer need to wear a mask in our facilities, including stores, distribution centers, plants, and offices, unless otherwise required by state or local jurisdiction. If there is a state or local mandate, we will adhere to that requirement and its timeline.”
Lidl -- Not requiring masks
“Like you, we look forward to the upcoming summer season and returning to normalcy as more Americans are vaccinated and the outlook with regard to COVID-19 brightens ... Based on new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we have instructed our stores to lift our mask requirements for vaccinated customers immediately in all locations where legally allowed. The CDC guidance makes it clear that fully vaccinated individuals can shop freely and safely in retail settings like Lidl without masks. Unvaccinated individuals, the guidelines also state, should continue to wear masks to protect themselves against the virus.
“In practical terms as of this writing, our updated mask policy means that fully vaccinated Lidl customers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia are now able to enter and shop at their local Lidl stores without a mask or protective face covering. Meanwhile, Lidl stores in Delaware, New Jersey and New York will continue to adhere to the statewide mask requirements that remain in place for all customers, vaccinated and unvaccinated, at this time.
“We know that state mask policies are subject to change. Therefore, at the entrance to each Lidl store, we will post clear signage outlining either the CDC-informed Lidl policy, or the statewide mask law that we are obligated to follow.”
Publix -- Not requiring masks
“As a result of the recently updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, Publix will no longer require fully vaccinated associates or customers to wear face coverings, unless required by a state or local order or ordinance, beginning May 15. In accordance with CDC guidelines, individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to use face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside any Publix store.”
Trader Joe’s -- Not requiring masks
In a statement, Trader Joe’s said that it encouraged customers “to follow the guidance of health officials, including, as appropriate, CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping.”
Whole Foods -- Still requiring masks
(WATCH: Cooper lifts all gathering, distancing limits and most mask requirements in NC)
Target -- Not requiring masks
“Target will no longer require fully vaccinated guests and team members to wear face coverings in our stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances,” the retailer said in a statement. “Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores.”
Walmart -- Not requiring masks
“Beginning today, vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask, and we will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in our stores and clubs. We will update the signage in our facilities to reflect this.”
Home Depot -- Not requiring masks
Following the CDC’s recent announcements, customers and associates who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks or facial coverings in Home Depot stores, except where it’s mandated by state or local ordinances. Masks are still encouraged for those who aren’t fully vaccinated, and we’ll keep safety measures in place like enhanced cleaning and social distancing. Click here for Home Depot’s mask policy.
Costco -- Not requiring masks
“In Costco locations where the state or local jurisdiction does not have a mask mandate, we will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield. We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy. Face coverings will still be required in healthcare settings, including Pharmacy, Optical, Hearing Aid. Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield.”
(WATCH: The CDC issues new guidance on mask for those who are fully vaccinated)
Restaurants and Breweries
Starbucks -- Not requiring masks
“With widespread vaccine availability and the ongoing progress against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending that fully vaccinated people can resume indoor activities without wearing a mask, except where required by local regulations or law. As such, facial coverings will be optional for vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, unless local regulations require them by law.”
Cabarrus Brewing Co. -- Not requiring masks
“Due to the Governor’s lifting of the mask mandate, we will no longer be requiring masks to be worn indoors or outdoors here at CBC. We do encourage you to continue trying to distance yourselves when possible, and those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask are welcome to do so.”
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center -- Still requiring masks
“We are waiting for guidance from the county. We follow guidance from the CDC, state, and county, which has not changed its mask wearing requirement. For now we are allowing increased capacity, but are requiring everyone to wear a mask, as currently mandated by the county.”
“We are aware of updated CDC guidance regarding face coverings and social distancing. At the same time, a number of states are also revising their COVID-19 protocols. Our teams are evaluating the impact of these changes at our parks, next steps and timing. We will continue to encourage our guests to comply with state and local jurisdictions to ensure the health and safety of our guests and associates.”
Discovery Place Museums -- Still requiring masks
“As we review the recent announcements from the CDC and state leaders, visitors to Discovery Place are still required to follow COVID-19 protocols that have been in place at our Museums since we reopened last fall. This includes the requirement for all guests ages 2 and up to wear face coverings throughout their visit as well as practicing social distancing. The health and safety of our visitors and staff remains our top priority. We appreciate your continued cooperation and support as we take some time to evaluate the situation and determine our next steps in this process.”
Spectrum Center (Charlotte Hornets) -- Still requiring masks
“[Saturday] morning’s on-sale for single-game tickets for potential home games in the State Farm Play-In Tournament and the first round of the NBA Playoffs has been delayed as we finalize our plans for increasing capacity at Spectrum Center. Further updates will be provided as they become available.
“We apologize for the inconvenience, truly appreciate your patience and look forward to moving ahead with the on-sale as soon as we are able. Thank you for your continued support of the Charlotte Hornets.”
PNC Arena (Carolina Hurricanes) -- Still requiring masks
“The state may be lifting the mask mandate ... but the NHL still has a protocol in place that anybody entering the building has to have a mask,” Don Waddell said on masks inside PNA Arena.
Truist Field (Charlotte Knights) -- Not requiring masks, but recommended if your aren’t vaccinated
(WATCH: Charlotte Knights to not require masks at Truist Field)
Cox Media Group