Amid updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, retailers are taking another look at their mask policies. In May, the CDC said that fully vaccinated individuals could safely forego masks, but the emergence of the delta variant of the virus has sparked a reappraisal. The updated guidance states that all individuals, whether vaccinated or not, should wear face coverings in areas of the country where the variant is spreading quickly. It presents a bit of a conundrum for retailers, who have already had to wrestle with the question of how to enforce their mask policies. Experts warn that shoppers may be frustrated by changes to mask policies that had previously been relaxed.
“By having all this flip-flopping, you’re creating controversy around the subject, and it opens retailers up to criticism,” said Stacey Widlitz, president of SW Retail Advisors. “People get frustrated, and consumers are going to have to wrap their head around it.”