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Companies, stores change their COVID policies as virus surges

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 10:25 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2021 at 10:31 AM CDT
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(CNN) – A growing number of companies are telling employees to get the COVID-19 shot.

Many are also implementing mask mandates.

“I think now employers need to focus on making it difficult not to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Jeff Levin-Scherz, population health leader with Willis Towers Watson. “We’re facing a strain that is far more contagious and where even vaccinated people might actually pass it on.”

In May, Walmart was among the list of large retailers that removed face covering requirements for vaccinated shoppers in their stores.

That move followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance at the time easing mask wearing for people vaccinated against COVID-19.

“All of these conflicting messages that are reaching both the consumer as well as these business owners really muddles the waters,” said Bill Thorne with the National Retail Federation.

According to Thorne, major corporations and small businesses all want the same thing – to protect their staff, customers and the community they serve.

“So, if that means requiring masks, they will require masks. If that means that the recommendation would be to have everyone vaccinated that is coming in contact with the customers, then they’re going to look very closely at that,” he said.

While major retailers re-evaluate their mask policies, small businesses are acting.

Many mom-and-pop stores are bringing back strict mask wearing requirements for both employees and customers, hoping consumers reward them for prioritizing safety.

“It made a point,” said Wayne Lacombe, the owner of Legends Diner. “We wanted something that let people know that we’re serious.”

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