To mask, or not to mask? Rochester businesses' policies may differ |

To mask, or not to mask? Rochester businesses' policies may differ

To mask, or not to mask? Rochester businesses' policies may differ Photo: File photo, News10NBC.

Updated: May 21, 2021 10:08 PM
Created: May 17, 2021 07:49 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — New York is adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new mask and physical distancing guidance, which states fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks in most situations.

Starting Wednesday, May 19, fully vaccinated people can go to most indoor and outdoor events and businesses without a mask. Fully vaccinated people will still need to wear masks on public transit, in schools, and in some communal settings. Unvaccinated and immunocompromised people should continue to wear masks and social distance, according to the CDC

However, private businesses in New York can enforce their own mask guidelines, and state health officials recommend wearing masks in indoor locations where everyone's vaccination status may not be known.

News10NBC asked area businesses what they are planning on doing.


"In accordance with the latest CDC guidance, fully vaccinated customers are no longer required to wear a face-covering in our stores." This is specific to New York stores.

Tops Market

Face coverings are optional for those who are fully vaccinated. The company says unvaccinated people, including all individuals age 2 and older who are able to medically tolerate a face covering, must continue to wear a mask.

Walmart and Sam's Club

Fully vaccinated customers will not need to wear a mask except where required by state or local laws. Employees who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask while working at its stores, offices, or other facilities. This also applies to Sam’s Club.


Target 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, but it is continuing increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing.


Fully vaccinated Costco members and guests are allowed to enter without a face mask or face shield. Face coverings are still required in healthcare settings, such as Costco’s pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid areas.

BJ's Wholesale Club

NBC News is reporting that BJ's Wholesale Club is allowing fully vaccinated customers to go maskless.

Wilmorite (Owner of Greece Ridge, Marketplace and Eastview malls)

"Wilmorite malls are following CDC guidelines but encouraging visitors to wear masks since each store operates independently and has a different mask policy. We recommend calling ahead to the stores you plan on visiting."

Strong National Museum of Play

"As of now, we’re continuing our current mask policy (masks for all medically able 2 and up) through at least the end of the month. No formal decision on if or when that might change."

Rochester Museum and Science Center

The Rochester Museum and Science Center says employees will still be required to wear masks for now, but vaccinated guests will be allowed to take their masks off. The museum says it's asking unvaccinated guests and children ages 3 to 11 to wear their masks. As of now, the museum says it's leaning toward the honor system.


Fully vaccinated guests don't need to wear a mask while at the park. The park is still asking unvaccinated guests to wear a mask unless they are younger than 2 years old, can not medically tolerate a face covering, are eating or drinking, or are on a water slide or other water attraction. Seabreeze is also allowing people to remove masks while transiting to and from an attraction, while waiting in socially distanced queue lines, or while seated socially distanced.


CMAC says it plans on asking all guests to show proof of vaccination to attend shows this year, and on reopening at 100% capacity.


Customers who are fully vaccinated only have to wear face coverings inside stores if it is mandated 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.


NBC News is reporting that Walgreen's is keeping its mask mandate.

Rite Aid

NBC News is reporting that Rite Aid is keeping its mask mandate for all customers and associates.


NBC News is reporting Chipotle Mexican Grill will not require masks for customers, but will still require them for employees.


NBC News is reporting that Starbucks will ease mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers except for where they are required by local or state law.

HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls

NBC News is reporting that TJX Companies, the parent company of HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls, is keeping its mask mandate.

Seneca Park Zoo

"In response to the revised safety guidelines issued from the CDC, New York State, and local authorities, fully vaccinated guests will not be required to wear masks at Seneca Park Zoo.  Visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear face coverings at this time, including children aged 3 – 11. "


The Operations Manager at Parkleigh told News10NBC's Raven Brown Wednesday that masks will still be required for anyone who comes in for the time being.

Gates Big M

Gates Big M owner told News10NBC's Raven Brown on Wednesday they are asking customers to keep their masks on for now.

Kainos Restaurant

Kainos asks that all guests wear masks. The restaurant has a sign on its front door that says "Kainos is not in the business of policing who has a vaccine, and who doesn't." 

Rooney's Restaurant

Rooney's does not ask for proof of vaccination and allows vaccinated people not to wear masks.

The Old Stone Tavern

The Old Stone Tavern asks that unvaccinated people wear a mask. The restaurant does not ask for proof of vaccination.

The Hideaway

"If you're fully vaccinated all we ask is to show us proof whether the Excelsior Pass, the card, or even a picture on your phone. Our first, and foremost concern is the safety of our guests, and our staff," Owner Max Gordon told News10NBC's Patrick Moussignac.

Blink Fitness

Blink Fitness is allowing vaccinated people not to wear masks.

Some Rochester-area small businesses previously told News10NBC they will keep their mask requirements in place.

The common theme? Don't throw out your masks just yet. Even if you're not in school or planning on taking mass transportation, there may still be some places that require you to wear a mask. When in doubt, call first or check a business's website or social media accounts to make sure you have what you need.

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