One of the most stressful parts of the entire last year of coronavirus restrictions was who had a mask requirement and who was actually enforcing it. For some unknown reason, the situation turned very political and caused fights and even deaths in a couple of cases across the USA. It got really ugly, and America, we should really be ashamed of ourselves for not being civil about something that was meant to protect us. I have friends that turned into TOTAL jerks over this issue. But the good news is, restrictions are being eased and in some cases lifted.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement saying that for the most part, Americans who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks indoors, or even outdoors in crowded spaces. There are exceptions, of course, and while that is also causing quite a bit of confusion across America, it's still a relief that we might be moving forward after our long nightmare. The CDC will still recommend masks in health care settings, transportation hubs, planes, and public transportation for now.

Some of America's biggest retail companies are lifting their mask requirements, even though privately owned businesses can pretty much do what they want. As of Monday, May 17th, Target, Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe's, Sam's Club, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Starbucks, Publix, and CVS will no longer require customers or employees to wear face coverings if they are vaccinated. And yes, it's on the honor system. And according to WWL, national chains like Home Depot and Kroger will continue to keep their mask mandates for customers.

Let's hope that these new guidelines will help dial down the horrible mask confrontations that have been happening in retail settings since last year. Here's a thought: Just be nice.



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