Target drops mask mandate with an exception for local ordinances

The Minneapolis-based company is also incentivizing its employees to get vaccinated.

Mike Mozart/Flickr

Target has joined a growing number of retail stores that have eased mask mandates. The new policies, however, will not take effect in Minneapolis or St. Paul due to local mask ordinances.

Target’s updated mask policy is similar to new rules from Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, and CVS.

Target said it “strongly” encourages unvaccinated customers and employees to continue to wear masks.

While the majority of Target stores will operate with fewer restrictions, those in Minneapolis and St. Paul will remain compliant to local COVID-19 ordinances. The mayors of both cities have decided to keep their mask mandates in place, despite Gov. Tim Walz dropping the statewide mask mandate.

That decision has come as a surprise to some, as Hennepin County has already surpassed a 70% vaccination rate, which Walz previously identified as the threshold for ensuring the unmasked public’s safety. Ramsey County, where St. Paul is located, has a vaccination rate of 69%.

Target’s announcement comes one week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated safety recommendations for vaccinated individuals. The CDC’s new guidelines have determined that vaccinated individuals can go indoors or outdoors without a mask in most situations.

The Minneapolis-based company is also incentivizing its employees to get vaccinated, offering paid time-off and free Lyft rides to vaccine appointments.