Starting Monday, Costco will require all shoppers to wear a mask or face covering while in one of its stores. So far, it’s the only major retailer to issue that requirement.
The company is making some exceptions. Masks are not required for children under age two and people who are unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions.
“Costco employees are required to wear face coverings, and now we are asking that Costco members do so too,” said Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, in a letter to members. “We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. This is not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer, but others too.”
Critics sound off online
Many consumers do, in fact, find the rule objectionable and they made their feelings known on social media.
“We are officially boycotting @Costco,” AprilDawn posted on Twitter. “I’m a free citizen of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I will not comply with your mask rule! My body, my choice!”
“Making a mask mandatory after 2 months of a pandemic is like starting birth control after you’re already pregnant,” said Jenn.B, in another Twitter post.
But Costco said it is only following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which says masks are useful in settings where it is hard to maintain social distancing.
“CDC advises that face coverings can help slow the spread of the virus, including among those who are not aware they carry it,” Jelinek said. “However, the use of a face covering should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing. Please continue to observe rules regarding appropriate distancing while at Costco.”