As of November 13, 2020 there have been over 10.6 million cases in the United States since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. Everyday records are being shattered for the amount of people infected and at the time of writing the US is facing upwards of 160,000 new cases per day. As the numbers rise everyday, government officials like President-Elect Joe Biden and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are asking Americans to mask up, especially as the holidays come closer. Retailers are altering their face mask policies, most notably Costco, who have ended medical condition exemptions from preventing their customers from wearing a face covering. Starting November 16, the updated policy will prioritize making Costco Wholesale a safe work environment and a safe shopping environment.
Costco Stores Update Mask Policy Ahead of Growing COVID-19 Cases
Craig Jelinek, President and CEO of Costco Wholesale shared the following letter on November 10:
Dear Costco Member,
Effective Nov. 16, 2020, we will require all members, guests and employees to wear a face mask or face shield at Costco locations. Entry to Costco will only be granted to those wearing a face mask or face shield. Children under the age of 2 are exempt.
Costco has had a face mask policy in effect since May 4, 2020, but members who could not wear a mask due to a medical condition were exempt. This is no longer the case. If a member has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they must wear a face shield at Costco.
This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. Our goal is to continue to provide a safe shopping environment for our members and guests, and to provide a safe work environment for our employees.
Thank you for your cooperation and support.
The original policy allowed individuals to enter the store without a mask on the basis of a medical condition. However the new policy will not allow customers in without a face covering. The use of face coverings is not a substitute for social distancing and customers will be required to practice this in the stores as well.
Defying mask mandates has been trending, especially with President Donald Trump and other Republicans pushing back against the use of masks and nationwide mask mandates. There have been multiple instances in Walmarts, grocery stores, and Home improvement stores in which fights have broken out due to the mask policy.
Until the United States has the virus under control (which could be as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available), Americans are going to be wearing masks and relying on delivery options to get their shopping done.