Costco will require all shoppers to cover their faces, ending medical exemption

Costco will soon require all shoppers to cover their faces in its stores — even those who say they can’t wear masks for medical reasons.

The wholesale chain says anyone with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a standard face mask will have to don a face shield while they shop.

Costco had previously allowed a medical exemption to the mask mandate it imposed in May, but the company reversed course amid a record-setting surge in coronavirus infections across the US. Children younger than 2 can still go mask-free under the tweaked policy, which takes effect Nov. 16.

“This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience,” Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said in a note to shoppers dated Tuesday.

Costco provoked outrage from some customers when it started requiring masks, which are considered essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19. The move reportedly led to boycott threats from some Costco members, who pay an annual fee to shop there.

But other big retail chains including Walmart, Target and CVS have followed suit and rolled out their own mask mandates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says anyone older than 2 should wear a mask when out in public and when around people who don’t live in their household.

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