Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets has eased its mask policy: Shoppers and employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer be required to wear facial coverings in stores.

The new policy, which takes effect today, is based on “the recently updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance,” the company said in a brief news release.

Face coverings will be still required over the mouths and noses of those who are not vaccinated, the company said. The news release did not say how or whether the requirement will be enforced.

Publix joins several other large chains in updating mask requirements, including Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Other retailers, including Target, CVS and Walgreens are evaluating their policies and may change them, USA Today reports.

Publix Super Markets started requiring masks in all stores last July as the spread of COVID-19 surged.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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