ITHACA, N.Y. –– After both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an end to the year-long mask mandate, local grocers have taken the opportunity to adjust their mask policies accordingly. Wegmans, Tops, Aldi, Trader Joe’s, BJ’s, P&C Fresh and GreenStar have all said that fully vaccinated patrons will no longer have to wear face coverings in store.

“Under this revised policy, fully vaccinated customers and staff are permitted to not wear a mask in GreenStar stores. Staff and customers who are fully vaccinated are supported to wear a face covering if they choose,” GreenStar said on its Facebook page.

The other grocers have all made similar statements, either to the Ithaca Voice or publicly.

The adjusted policies for these stores do come with an element of faith in customers—customers choosing not to wear a mask will be self-attesting to their vaccination status.

Stores have also extended the choice to their employees who are vaccinated to wear a mask or not. It is unclear whether those employees will have to prove their status to employers.

The original mask mandate went into effect in New York State in April of 2020. Now with vaccines widely available, the hope is that the infection rate can stay low –– in Tompkins the number of active cases has hovered steadily around 50 for a month. Active cases have been below 100 for two months.

In addition to grocery stores, other retailers like Walmart and Target are also lifting their mask mandates for vaccinated customers.

While things open up, vaccinated patrons should check stores outside the ones listed here for mask requirements. Unvaccinated shoppers should continue to wear face coverings in stores and other public places where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com