PHOENIX — Following the CDC's recommendation that everyone wear face coverings or masks again when indoors -- including those who are already vaccinated against COVID-19 -- because of increasing concerns about the delta variant, some local governments and stores have updated their masks policies.
A majority of the changes primarily impact employees rather than customers, however, stores are strongly encouraging people to wear a mask and to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they have not already.
Here is what you need to know.
Masks still required at the airport and on planes. A federal mask mandate remains in effect and requires everyone to wear a mask when at the airport, going through security, in the terminal, and on the plane. It also applies to public transportation, including Valley Metro light rail, city buses, subways, and trains.
Cities requiring masks inside city-owned buildings. The cities of Flagstaff, Phoenix, Peoria, Tempe, and Tucson, and the Town of Fountain Hills (beginning Monday, Aug. 9), are requiring employees and guests to wear masks when inside city-owned buildings, which may include your local library or aquatic and recreation center (CDC does not recommend wearing a mask in the pool). Maricopa County is also requiring everyone to wear a mask inside its facilities, including the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control. Chandler, Gilbert, and Glendale did not anticipate changes to their current policies, which recommend masks, but do not require them.
Restaurants requiring proof of vaccination: At least two restaurants in Phoenix are asking customers to prove that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to dine inside their restaurants. Both FnB in Scottsdale and Oven+Vine in Phoenix, according to reports, are asking customers show their vaccine card or a photo of it to dine inside. "It isn't something that is political, it isn't something that we've taken very lightly, it isn't something that is against any person or the fact that they've made that choice to not get a vaccine," said Chef Charlene Badman, co-owner of FnB.
Medieval Times: Masks required for everyone. While implemented prior to the CDC's updated guidance, Medieval Times does require everyone to wear a mask inside its castles and during its shows. "The safety of our guests and team members has always been our top priority. All guests are required to wear a mask to enter Her Majesty’s Castle. We look forward to seeing you soon at the castle!"
Target: Employees are required to wear masks. Strongly recommended for customers. "Based on the CDC’s updated guidance, we require face coverings for our team members and strongly recommend face coverings for all guests in areas with substantial or high risk of transmission, as defined by the CDC."
Kroger/Fry's Food Stores: Masks required for unvaccinated employees. Strongly encouraged for everyone. "Our current mask guidance requires unvaccinated associates to wear masks and requests that unvaccinated customers wear masks when in our stores and facilities. In light of the Delta variant and updated CDC recommendations, we strongly encourage all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask when in our stores and facilities."
Walmart: Masks required for all employees. Optional for customers. "We will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission. In these counties and where there are state or local mask mandates, associates will be required to wear masks inside our facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers."
Home Depot: Masks required for employees, contractors, and vendors. Optional for customers. "As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the U.S., beginning August 2, we’ll require all associates, contractors and vendors to wear a mask while indoors at all U.S. Home Depot stores, distribution centers, office locations and customers’ homes or businesses, regardless of vaccination status. We’ll ask customers to wear masks while in our stores and continue to offer masks to those who don’t have one."
McDonald's: Required for employees and customers. McDonald's will require masks be worn inside all of its restaurants for both employees and customers, regardless of vaccination status, in areas where there is "high" or "substantial" spread of COVID-19, the company said.