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Starbucks, Publix and other places loosen mask restrictions for fully vaccinated

Starbucks, Publix and Walt Disney World are the latest companies to change their masking policies Saturday following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They join Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco, which all announced changes to their policies in recent days changes. Thursday’s sudden announcement from the CDC, which said that fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors (with some exceptions), has created a patchwork of new policies for private companies.

Here’s what changed over the past 24 hours:


Beginning Saturday, fully vaccinated associates and customers will not be required to wear face coverings at its grocery stores.

“As a result of the recently updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, Publix will no longer require fully vaccinated associates or customers to wear face coverings, unless required by a state or local order or ordinance, beginning May 15,” the statement read.


The coffee chain will make facial coverings optional for vaccinated customers starting on Monday, the company announced on its website.

“Facial coverings will be optional for vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, unless local regulations require them by law,” it said.

However, its restrooms will continue to remain closed to customers in locations where café seating is unavailable.

Walt Disney World

The Florida theme park announced that masks and face coverings for guests will be “optional in outdoor common areas” at Disney World starting on Saturday. The exception being that guests “must wear face coverings from the entrances at all attractions, theaters or transportation and throughout those experiences,” the company said.

So that means if you’re walking down Main Street, U.S.A., you don’t have to wear a mask but if you’re riding Space Mountain, you’ll still have to.

Universal Studios

Universal Orlando Resort, a Disney competitor in Orlando that houses attractions from Harry Potter and Jurassic Park, also announced that it was updating its safety measures. Like Disney’s new requirements, it says that masks are not “mandatory” while outdoors but are still “required in all indoor locations including shops and restaurants” and required at all attractions.

–CNN’s Natasha Chen and Frank Pallotta contributed to this report.

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