MAINE, USA — Maine’s indoor mask mandate was lifted on Monday, May 24, following updated guidance from the U.S. CDC. While the "mandate" was lifted, the Maine CDC and the U.S. CDC "recommend" unvaccinated Mainers still wear a mask in certain indoor settings.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said the lifted mandate ends the process of asking Maine businesses to enforce masking guidelines. There are some places where masks will still be required including hospitals, health care facilities, schools, daycares, and public transportation.
However, according to state officials, businesses or restaurants can still require you to wear a mask or ask if you've been vaccinated.
Here’s a running list of what businesses in Maine are doing with their mask requirements.
Stores still requiring masks
TJX Companies including TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and Marshall's
TJX Companies, which owns TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and Marshall's will still require face coverings for customers and staff.
Stores dropping mask mandates
The common areas of the mall will follow the state’s guidance and will not require masks for those fully vaccinated. Individual stores within the mall, however, have their own masking rules for customers and employees.
Fully-vaccinated guests do not need to wear a mask inside of Chipotle restaurants except where required by local regulations, the restaurant chain said on its website. Employees must still wear masks.
Costco said Friday it will allow fully vaccinated members to shop without a mask, except in its Pharmacy, Optical and Hearing Aid sections. It will also follow state and local mandates, so stores in jurisdictions that require masks indoors will continue to enforce the rule. Costco says it won't be asking for proof of vaccination.
CVS announced Monday that it will no longer require mask masks in its stores for fully vaccinated customers and employees, unless required by state or local regulations.
"Customers who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing face coverings, and employees are required to do so while at work. Health, safety and science will continue to drive our decision-making process," an update posted on the CVS website explains.
Maine Hannaford supermarkets will no longer require masks for their customers who are fully vaccinated. They do ask that you continue to wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated.
Hannaford made the announcement on their website.
While the food retailer lifted the mask mandate, it still has the six-foot distancing guidelines in place and arrows on the floors for customers to follow. They have free masks on hand if a customer needs one.
Home Depot updated its mask policy on Monday so that fully vaccinated customers and associates are not required to wear masks in its stores, except where mandated by state or local ordinances.
"Masks are still encouraged for those who aren’t fully vaccinated, and we’ll keep safety measures in place like enhanced cleaning and social distancing," the company said in a statement.
All fully vaccinated customers are invited to shop without wearing a mask unless it is required by state or local ordinances. Kohl's does not indicate it will require proof of vaccination. It encourages non-vaccinated customers and workers to continue wearing masks.
L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport
A spokesperson for L.L. Bean told NEWS CENTER Maine their retail stores will follow state guidance, meaning customers who are fully vaccinated will not be required to wear masks indoors as of Monday, May 24.
However, employees will continue to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols until July 1, “allowing time for vaccination numbers to continue to increase.” After July 1, employees will no longer have to wear a mask, but may choose to do so.
All Marden’s stores in Maine will no longer require masks for customers and employees who are fully vaccinated, according to the Scarborough location’s store manager.
Beginning Saturday, May 29, the Biddeford and Westbrook Market Basket locations will no longer require masks for fully vaccinated Mainers.
A spokesperson from the Massachusetts-based grocery store chain said in a Facebook message, "In accordance with CDC guidelines and regulations pertaining to each state where we proudly serve our customers, effective May 29, 2021, all Market Basket locations will begin following the recently updated CDC Guidelines pertaining to face coverings. On this date, fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear a face covering."
Starting Monday, May 24, fully vaccinated Mainers will not be required to wear face coverings at all Renys locations.
“Renys retail stores will follow state guidance, meaning customers who are fully vaccinated will not be required to wear masks indoors as of Monday, May 24," a Renys spokesperson said. "Employees will continue to wear masks if they prefer to or if they are not vaccinated and all employees will continue social distancing and cleaning protocols at this time.”
Shaw's Supermarket stores in Maine are no longer requiring face coverings for customers and employees who are fully vaccinated, Shaw's said in a statement to NEWS CENTER Maine.
"The health and safety of our team and our customers is our highest priority, so masks or face coverings will be required for associates and strongly encouraged for customers who are not vaccinated while in our stores," Shaw's said.
On Friday, the company announced that face-covering indoors will be optional for fully vaccinated customers starting on Monday, May 17. However, guests will still be asked to wear a mask if local regulations require them by law.
In a statement Monday morning, the Minneapolis-based company said it "will no longer require fully vaccinated guests and team members to wear face coverings in our stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances." It added that face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated.
Trader Joe's says, effective immediately, it will no longer require customers to wear masks in its stores if they are fully vaccinated. In an email, Trader Joe's said, "We do not require proof of vaccination, as we trust our customers to follow CDC guidelines." Employees at Trader Joe's will still be required to wear masks.
The major retail pharmacy chain announced on May 19 that it would be dropping mask mandates in stores for fully vaccinated people, but the guidance would depend on rules mandated by states and localities.
Some areas and stores could still require that face coverings over the nose and mouth be worn by customers because of those local laws, for now, so check with your local store for details.
Walmart said Friday it will allow fully vaccinated customers at Walmart and Sam's Club to shop without a mask, although it may update that rule for certain areas of the stores. It will also follow state and local mandates, so stores in jurisdictions that require masks indoors will continue to enforce the rule. Walmart says fully vaccinated employees will be able to stop wearing masks on May 18, but said workers have the choice to continue wearing one if they want.
Note: This list will be updated.