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Starbucks, Walt Disney World relax mask rules after change in CDC guidance

Since the CDC's announcement Thursday, companies around the country have made updates to their mask policies.
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Guests stroll through the Disney Springs shopping complex on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.John Raoux / AP file

Starbucks and Walt Disney World Resort are the latest major companies to relax their mask policies days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear face coverings whether indoors or outdoors in most circumstances.

Starbucks said in a statement on its website Friday that facial coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated customers beginning Monday unless local regulations require them by law.

“It is our responsibility to protect our partners and customers, and we are committed to meeting or exceeding all public health mandates,” the company said, citing the CDC recommendations in its announcement.

A person wearing a protective mask exits a Starbucks coffee shop in San Francisco on Jan. 21, 2021.David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Meanwhile, Walt Disney World said in an update on its website that masks are now optional in “outdoor common areas." The change took effect Saturday. Face coverings are still required upon entering and throughout all attractions, according to the website.

In a memo Friday, Walmart said masks will no longer be required for fully vaccinated employees or customers starting Tuesday.

The nation's largest retail chain also announced a $75 bonus for employees who are or get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Since the change in the CDC's recommendations, major retailers around the country have begun announcing changes to their mask policies.

The CDC announced Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated against the virus no longer need to wear masks or physically distance in most circumstances.

"We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy," the CDC's director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said during a media briefing Thursday afternoon.

"Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines and our understanding of how the virus spreads," Walensky said, "that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated."