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Costco says fully vaccinated customers no longer need to wear masks, with exceptions

Following new CDC guidance, Costco says fully vaccinated customers can shop inside their stores without face coverings, except in certain sections.

Costco announced Friday that fully vaccinated members can shop in most sections of its stores without wearing a face mask or face shield, following new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The warehouse retailer says it will not require proof of vaccination.

In an update on its website, Costco said it will still follow state and local rules on masks. So if a store is located in a jurisdiction that requires masks indoors, it will apply to that Costco location.

"We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy," the company said in a letter from CEO Craig Jelinek, adding that it still recommends that everyone wear a mask or shield.

Face coverings will be required, however, in healthcare areas such as the Pharmacy, Optical and Hearing Aid areas.

For Costco stores in areas where state and local rules require face coverings, children under the age of 2 remain exempt. Those who have a medical exemption from wearing a mask must wear a shield.

A person is considered fully vaccinated if it has been two weeks since their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

The CDC on Thursday eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.