Aldi, like every other retailer, established new procedures within its stores during the COVID pandemic. Terms like masks, social distancing, capacity limits, and sanitizing became the regular language of businesses. Some states and counties had mask mandates, but that wasn’t true in all places. In response, many companies simply issued across-the-board mask requirements, even if their stores were in areas that didn’t have government mask rules.
In the early months of the pandemic, Aldi took some pretty serious measures to protect its workers and customers. Aisles were marked as one-way, stores only allowed a certain number of customers in at one time, frontline health care workers were given priority access, and certain early hours were designated for vulnerable customers. Masks, once they were widely available, became a requirement for workers and customers alike.
A year later, federal and state governments have loosened their restrictions, thanks to both the widespread availability of vaccines and a steadily declining number of COVID cases and deaths. On May 13, 2021, the CDC revised its guidance to permit fully vaccinated individuals to go without masks in most indoor and outdoor settings. Many states and counties with mask mandates followed suit that week. That left businesses to decide what to do next, and many of them have mirrored the CDC recommendations.
Aldi is among them. As of May 18, 2021, Aldi’s official policy is that “face coverings are required for unvaccinated customers, and where required by state or local regulations,” and that “social distancing is required for unvaccinated customers, and where required by state and local laws.” In other words, vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks in stores or to social distance.
In addition, as of May 26, 2021, fully vaccinated Aldi employees “will no longer be required to wear a face covering, unless specified by state or local jurisdictions.”
Aldi’s distant cousin, Trader Joe’s, was one of the first national companies to update its mask policy after the CDC announcement. Trader Joe’s requires masks only for unvaccinated customers, although at press time it has not yet updated its policy with regard to workers.