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Arizona analyst expects big retail rebound as masks disappear

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona retail analyst expects the industry’s recovery to intensify if businesses loosen their rules on wearing masks.

“Retail is definitely making a comeback, simply because consumers are dynamic and they want what they want,” Kristin Bentz told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

“This mask removal mandate is basically a psychological symbol to them that the pandemic is over and everyone wants it to be over.”

It’s been less than a week since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidance saying that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks indoors or out in most cases.

Bentz believes the guidance gives more freedom to retailers to drop mask requirements, which in turn will likely make customers more comfortable through the experience.

Big retailers will benefit the most if face coverings aren’t a necessity anymore, according to Bentz.

She expects those large retailers to drop their requirements in short order and some, including Walmart and Target, already have.

“It’s going to be a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ situation going forward,” Bentz said. “I think the mask thing is going to go away very, very quickly.”

Small businesses will be more nuanced in their mask approach, Bentz thinks.

Some will have to consider their location and clientele before making a decision that will have a sizable impact on their immediate future.

Even so, Bentz expects small businesses to follow the lead of big retailers.

“I think small businesses are just going to have to get with the program and let their customers be comfortable,” Bentz said.

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