PHOENIX — Kroger, which is the parent-company of Fry's Food Stores in Arizona, has become the latest grocery chain to drop its mask requirements for most fully vaccinated employees and customers, following the CDC's updated guidance last week.
"We have received feedback from and heard the valued opinions of thousands of associates regarding the CDC’s announcement. Based on the CDC’s science-based guidance and the input of our associates, we are updating our mask policy in a way that balances our values of safety and respect," Kroger said Wednesday in an online statement.
"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."
Employees who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine will be required to still wear a mask. Customers who have not received the vaccine are asked to continue to wear a mask, according to the statement.
"We will continue to respect the choice of individuals who prefer to continue to wear a mask," Kroger said.
Trader Joe's, Walmart, Target, Bashas', Food City, AJ's Fine Foods, and Sprouts have all lifted their mask requirements following the CDC's latest guidance, which said fully-vaccinated people could continue to do most indoor and outdoor activities without needing to wear a mask.
Albertsons, which also owns Safeway, told ABC15 last week that it would continue to require employees and customers to wear masks inside its stores. We have reached back out to them to see if they plan on adjusting their policy.