Connecticut stores, restaurants individually decide mask mandates for vaccinated customers


Photo by Margot Richlin ’23

She La La, a retail business, along with other buildings in Westport, have put signs in their storefront to inform customers of their mask policy.

Starbucks and Trader Joe’s are amongst the first stores to lift indoor mask mandates since Governor Ned Lamont changed Connecticut’s mask guidelines on May 19. 

In Connecticut, fully vaccinated individuals are now allowed to enter stores without a face covering if the store’s policy authorizes it. Unvaccinated customers and children that are ineligible for the vaccine are still required to wear masks indoors. Walmart, Target, Costco and other businesses have complied with updated mask guidelines and lifted their mask mandates as well. 

I would feel more comfortable if everyone had two shots before going into public places without a mask.

— Tessa Tobias ’24

“We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy,” Costco said, according to Westport News.

With the new guidelines being implemented into many stores, some students at Staples are hesitant to remove their masks even after they are fully vaccinated. 

“I would feel more comfortable if everyone had two shots before going into public places without a mask,” Tessa Tobias ’24 said. 

Some Staples students voiced concerns about the honor system that the mask removal will entail. 

“Lifting the mask mandate in stores is dangerous not only because there are people who refuse to receive the vaccine but also because anyone under 12 who wants to be vaccinated can not yet receive the vaccine,” Pia Dottori ’23 said. “Also, new variants of COVID-19 are being discovered and we do not know how effective the vaccine is against them.”

Although some stores have definitively stated that they will be lifting their mask mandates, several Connecticut restaurants remain undecided and seek more direction. Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, told the Associated Press that many restaurant owners voiced concern about maintaining the honor code while keeping customers safe from potentially unvaccinated customers. 

“That puts a lot of worry on the restaurants,” Dolch said, according to the Associated Press. “They’re like, ‘Okay, now I have to deal with the honor system, hoping that that person that told me they’re vaccinated [is fully vaccinated].’”