If you plan on making a trip to Costco, be sure to bring your face mask. Beginning May 4, Costco shoppers will be required to wear protective face coverings when they’re in stores or at the warehouse club gas stations, according to a new announcement from the company.
In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing face coverings in public settings, especially in places like grocery stores and pharmacies where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Already, Costco employees are required to wear face masks. The new policy extends to members and their guests, however the requirement doesn’t apply to children under the age of 2 or to individuals who are unable to wear a face mask due to a medical condition.
“We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience,” said Costco president and CEO Craig Jelinek in the letter to members.
“This is not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer, but others, too.”
Costco will also return to normal store hours on May 4, though the warehouse is limiting entry to two people per membership card.
Some states and many cities already require face coverings in public, while others strongly recommend wearing face masks. While you may see signs at your local grocery store asking you to wear a mask, Costco appears to be the first large grocery chain with a nationwide presence to require customers to wear masks.
Many grocery stores have stopped short of requiring customers to wear masks, asking them to expedite their trips if they aren’t wearing face coverings or reminding them to bring them next time, according to CNN.
But some grocery store workers and their allies are advocating to require customers to wear masks.
“Keeping grocery stores safe for both customers and workers means everyone must wear masks,” Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, told CNN. “We are urging both elected leaders and grocery chains to make masks mandatory for both customers and workers.”
The guidelines for cloth masks, according to the CDC, require that they fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; be secured with ties or ear loops; include multiple layers of fabric; allow for breathing without restriction; and be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape.
What are your thoughts? Do you think face coverings should be required of customers in stores?