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Fred Meyer, QFC drop mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in Washington

Fully vaccinated customers no longer need to wear masks at Fred Meyer and QFC in Washington unless it's required by a local mandate.

SEATTLE — Fred Meyer and QFC have updated their mask policy to align with Washington state and federal health guidance, allowing some customers and associates to go mask-free.

As of Tuesday, fully vaccinated shoppers and most fully vaccinated workers do not need to wear masks unless a local mandate is in place.

Non-vaccinated associates, as well as associates in pharmacy and clinic locations, will still be required to wear masks. Non-vaccinated customers should also continue to mask up.

The policy applies to Fred Meyer and QFC workers in stores, distribution centers, plants and offices in Washington.

The company says it will continue to implement enhanced cleaning and physical distancing across its facilities.

RELATED: Washington officials 'hopeful' COVID-19 vaccination rates will allow for early reopening

The announcement came several days after Kroger, which is the parent company of Fred Meyer and QFC, loosened its mask rules. At the time, a Fred Meyer spokesperson said Washington stores would still require masks.

Kroger cited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that allows people who are fully vaccinated to stop wearing masks in certain settings. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said ending indoor mask mandates should be linked to local circumstances and data.

Although Washington state has adopted the CDC guidance on masking, businesses can still impose mask mandates, and the agency will let local health departments craft stricter mask policies if they choose.

King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin issued a health directive last week strongly urging people to continue wearing masks in indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. Duchin previously said he thought the CDC guidance was a little premature and wanted to increase vaccinations across the county before ditching masks.