UPDATE: Meijer to stick with original policy, require masks for all shoppers unless medically necessary

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Meijer has given an updated statement to FOX 2, saying that it will adhere to its previous policy of requiring masks for all shoppers.

After Michigan's policy on masks was announced it would be lifted effective at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 15, many stores will now determine if they will follow the MDHSS policy on masks or still ask their customers to wear them. FOX 2 mistakenly reported that the Meijer would follow MDHHS guidance and no longer require masks for all shoppers. However, shortly after that report, Meijer sent a statement that it would stick to its original mask policy.

"While we are aware of new CDC guidance, many state or local orders in the Meijer footprint remain in effect regarding masks.  In order to help ensure the continued health and safety of all its team members and customers, Meijer continues to require face coverings by anyone entering a Meijer store or Meijer Express station at all locations, except where medical conditions prevent them from wearing one," Meijer said, in an updated statement.

FOX 2 regrets the mistake in the original report.

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Labor groups and others warned that employees at stores, restaurants, and other businesses could be left exposed to the coronavirus from customers and could be forced into the unwanted role of "vaccination police."

Several major chains, including Home Depot and grocer Kroger Co., announced that they would keep mask mandates in place for now.

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How businesses will enforce the new policy remains to be seen but it seems unlikely many will require or even ask for proof of a COVID-19 vaccine.

This change comes a day after the CDC said that fully vaccinated people don't need to wear a mask in most situations. According to the guidance, vaccinated people don't need to wear masks in most indoor spaces and outdoors, even when there are crowds. They still should be worn in crowded indoor places, such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters.

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services began reviewing the state's mask mandate after the CDC changes were announced. 

"With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely and confidently take the next step to get back to normal," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "The message is clear: vaccines work to protect you and your loved ones. If you have not yet received your vaccine, now is the time to sign up. This pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges of our lifetimes, but we came together as a state to persevere. We have all been working incredibly hard toward getting back to some sense of normalcy, and today's news makes all of that work worthwhile." 

Employers have the added challenge of how to verify if their employees have been vaccinated or not. Can a business mandate its employees get the COVID-19 vaccine?  

The question has been one that businesses have mulled over for months and, according to FOX 2's Charlie Langton, the short answer is yes, they can ask people if they are vaccinated.

"If an employer believes they want to make a safe workplace, I believe they can require their workers to get the vaccine," he said in Thursday morning's segment of The Verdict.

There are exceptions to this rule and to learn about those and it could mean to you and going back to work, check out this story: Can a business require its employees get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.