UPDATE, March 5: Albertsons changed course on Friday, saying it would now continue to mandate masks for customers in its Texas grocery stores when a state requirement expires next week.
Just a couple days ago, the chain drew a flurry of attention when a spokesperson told ABC-7 it would lift the mask requirement when the state does on March 10.
But in a new statement issued Friday evening, Albertsons said while it recognizes that mask requirements are "controversial and polarizing" - it had reconsidered and decided to continue requiring customers to mask up.
The company said part of the reason for the new decision was the fact that grocery store workers have not yet had full access to coronavirus vaccinations, so they still face a risk. In addition, Albertsons also noted that the CDC still strongly recommends mask use to prevent virus spread.
"Subsequently, our stores and facilities in Texas will continue to require masks for associates, vendors and customers regardless of the mask mandate being lifted," Albertsons spokesperson Nancy Keane said in a statement sent to ABC-7.
ORIGINAL REPORT, March 3: EL PASO, Texas -- ABC-7 has confirmed that the Albertsons grocery chain will drop a mask requirement for Texas store customers when the state lifts its pandemic restrictions next week.
According to Albertsons spokesperson Nancy Keane, Albertsons will not require customers in El Paso or elsewhere in Texas to wear a mask when shopping there as of March 10.
However, vendors and employees will still be required to wear masks until further notice, she said.
Alberstons operates seven store locations in El Paso.