Costco Imposes Customer Face Mask Rule

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Costco Imposes Customer Face Mask Rule

By Thad Rueter - 04/30/2020
Food retailers are increasingly backed by state mandates on face masks
Costco joins other food retailers in requiring customer use of face masks

Costco has joined the ranks of numerous other food retailers requiring face coverings for shoppers.

Starting Monday, all Costco members and guests must wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose, at all times while at Costco, the retailer said. This requirement does not apply to children under the age of 2 or to individuals who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition.

Costco already requires its workers to wear face masks in to protect against the COVID-19 outbreak, and now the chain wants it shoppers to follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Although some may disagree with this policy or question its effectiveness, we’re choosing to err on the side of safety in our shopping environments” the retailer said. “Costco has continued to operate during this crisis as an essential business in all of our communities, and our employees are on the front lines.”

Even as consumers face a variety of rules and voluntary guidelines regarding face masks, food retailers are increasingly imposing their own requirements about the pandemic protection gear for customers. For instance, privately owned supermarket chain Karns Quality Foods, which operates 10 locations in Pennsylvania, recently imposed its own face mask requirement for shoppers – one that is now backed by a state mandate. Fresh Market, a North Carolina-based retailer, also has said that customers must wear them or be asked to leave. Vons, a grocery store chain owned by Albertsons and which locations in Southern California and Southern Nevada, is another business that has recently told customers to wear face masks.

As food retailers set their own rules, more states are imposing mandates even as some economies start to reopen slowly. Illinois, for instance, has a set a face mask requirement that begins Monday, with anyone in public ordered to wear those coverings. That helps put retailers and grocers in that state on a level playing field and reduces potential consumer confusion about individual store rules.