COVID-19 cases are surging again in the United States, which has prompted both the authorities and local/national businesses to rethink their mask policies. 

Covid-19 mask
(Photo : ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
A sign reads "Thank you! For Wearing A Mask," outside a supermarket in Indian Valley, California, on July 27, 2021. - People vaccinated against Covid-19 in high-risk parts of the US should resume wearing masks indoors, the top health authority said Tuesday, a major shift in coronavirus guidance that underscores the country's struggle to suppress the Delta variant.

A recent report by CNBC states that many retailers are now mulling their current mask protocols for both employees and customers since the CDC has been preparing to announce a new COVID mask mandate. This is in light of the recent increase in coronavirus infections in the US, most of which are caused by the extremely contagious Delta variant.

According to the National Retail Federation, however, they will follow the CDC's new guidelines on the event they get implemented. This, however, could be a breeding ground for confusion among customers, warns industry experts. 

A few businesses, especially large-scale ones, have already reacted. For instance, Apple is now requiring vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks inside their stores. This includes both customers and staff members. It's also a direct result of the entire state of California implementing the same COVID mask mandate. 

Earlier, the CDC said that even fully vaccinated people will be required to wear masks outdoors and even indoors, especially if the indoor venue is in a so-called COVID-19 hotspot. According to CNET, any county that has had 50 to 100 infections per 100,000 people is considered a hotspot. 

Customers are now reminded to be updated about the release of new COVID mask mandates in their locations. According to Brian Dodge, president of The Retail Industry Leaders Association, the new protocols are a direct result of new COVID-19 variants emerging, as well as the still-widespread cases of vaccine hesitancy in several locations around the nation. 

Read also: Top 10 Countries with Highest COVID-19 Recoveries

COVID-19 Mask Mandates: Are They Really Effective at Preventing the Spread? 

There's been a lot of debate as to whether fully vaccinated individuals still have to wear masks, despite having more than adequate protection against mild and severe COVID-19 infection. And a lot of recent claims from experts have been sowing confusion among fully vaxxed individuals. 

According to experts from NPR, however, you are mostly safe against COVID-19 without wearing a mask. However, you do need to limit your contact with anyone else to increase your chances of not getting infected with the virus. 

But what about against the new, very contagious Delta variant? According to a report by Deseret, your two best choices are either a KN95 or an N95 for maximum protection against Delta. While this variant itself is not "more airborne" as some claim, a mask will still offer enough protection against it. 

Businesses Going All-In

Anybody who hasn't been vaccinated and opt to not wear masks will have a tougher time trying to get into retail establishments in the US from here on out. 

Aside from reinstating mask mandates, businesses are also requiring incoming customers, employees, and even new hires to provide adequate proof that they've been vaccinated. One good example is Disney, which has begun requiring all guests and staff members to still wear protective face coverings regardless of whether they're vaccinated or not.

RelatedGoogle Announces All Returning Employees Must Be Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

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Written by RJ Pierce 

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