Costco has updated its mask policy to clarify that everyone coming into its stores must wear a facial covering, including those who have medical conditions.
The wholesale retailer posted an updated face mask policy on its website this week, further clarifying that any customer who may have a medical exemption from wearing a face mask must still wear a facial covering.
"Individuals who are unable to wear a face mask due to a medical condition must wear a face shield," they wrote: "Children under the age of 2 are exempt. Entry to Costco will be granted only to those wearing a face mask or face shield. [Editor's note: The emphasis is included in Costco's statement.] For members who are unable to wear a mask or face covering, Costco has delivery options available on Costco.com. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation."
Costco president and CEO Craig Jelinek wrote a letter to shoppers on Tuesday explaining the change. "This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience," he wrote. "Our goal is to continue to provide a safe shopping environment for our members and guests, and to provide a safe work environment for our employees."
Videos of anti-mask customers have gone viral in the recent months, many of whom claim they have a medical exemption to wearing a face mask due to conditions like asthma. However, many experts have cast doubt on these claims. Pulmonologist and director of the medical ICU at Tisch Hospital David Kaufman, MD, spoke to Health about surgical and fabric masks: "There are no known medical conditions aside from a severe skin condition [like a very severe burn that needs medical attention] on your face that would prevent a person from wearing this type of mask. If you can wear a scarf to keep your face warm in the winter, you can wear a mask to prevent the spread of disease.”
Costco's updated policy comes as many places in the United States, and even around the world, are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. It also comes after months of videos of those anti-mask customers going viral, showing them berating retail workers over their stores' mask policies.
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