Costco Just Doubled Down On Its Mask Policy

Costco wants all shoppers to wear a mask in their stores — and they mean it. President and CEO Craig Jelinek announced on November 10th, "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," (via Costco).

You're probably recalling that Costco already had some mask guidelines, and you are correct. Costco's previous mask policy was released on May 4th but allowed an exception for members who had medical conditions that prevented mask usage. This exemption has been rescinded, and those who cannot wear masks must at least wear a face shield now. Jelinek goes on to add that, "we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience."

This new update comes as coronavirus rates are surging around the nation. As of November 10th, the United States has reached 1 million cases in November alone and COVID-19 hospitalizations surpassed 60,000 for the first time (via USA Today).

Costco's mask mandates for their retail stores are not unusual

Costco is not alone in creating mask requirements for shoppers. Headquartered in Washington state, Costco's policy closely mirrors state mask mandates that require individuals to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices, and restaurants (via Washington State Health Department). Additionally, other national retailers have issued similar guidance. On July 20, mega-retailer Walmart issued a mask mandate for all Walmart and Sam's Club stores, as did mega-giant Amazon, requiring masks at all Whole Foods, Amazon Books, and other branded outlets (via AARP).

Grocery giant Kroger issued a July 22 mask mandate across its 3,003 public stores this summer on the same day that Home Depot did so across 1,973 home improvement retailers. Other big names to join in mandating masks whether or not these are required by state guidelines include Walgreens, CVS, Target, Lowe's, Albertson's, Apple Store, McDonald's, Best Buy, TJ Maxx and Marshall's, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Verizon, H-E-B, and Starbucks. This list goes on and also continues to update.

If you are in doubt about a retail or restaurant's masking policies, follow state and CDC guidelines which remind us that masks protect your own health, as well as others (via USA Today). Mask up!