Should face masks be mandatory for shoppers?
Costco last week became the first major retailer to require that all customers wear face coverings.
“Costco employees are required to wear face coverings, and now we are asking that Costco members do so too,” said Craig Jelinek, president and CEO, in a blog entry. “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.”
He further added that while “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 CDC recommends that people wear face coverings in public settings to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Costco joins SpartanNash, Menards and Meijer among the few larger retailers making masks mandatory.
Some retailers, including Walmart, H-E-B and Home Depot, are encouraging, but not requiring, customers to wear masks. Whole Foods last week began encouraging customers to wear masks and said it would distribute free, disposable masks for those without one. Most retailers have no mask policy for customers.
New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois are among a number of states requiring people to wear masks when visiting grocers and other businesses. Major cities, including Miami and Los Angeles, have similar ordinances, as do some smaller towns.
Wearing masks has become a political hot potato as reopen rallies have erupted across the country calling for a reduction of COVID-19 restrictions to support the economy. Many protesters assert being ordered to wear masks violates constitutional law.
Business Insider reported that some calls surfaced on social media for a boycott of Costco following the wholesale club’s move. On Friday, the town of Stillwater, OK abandoned a requirement that people wear face coverings in local businesses after violent threats were made against retail and restaurant employees.
- CEO Statement Regarding Face Coverings for Members – Costco
- Making masks available to Whole Foods Market customers nationwide – Amazon.com
- Where are you required to wear a face mask? More and more states, cities and towns making it a rule – USA Today
- See which grocery stores, big box retailers are requiring customers to wear face coverings – Cleveland.com
- People are boycotting Costco for requiring shoppers to wear masks in stores — and it reveals the frightening misconceptions that still exist about the pandemic – Business Insider
- Oklahoma city ends face mask rule for shoppers after store employees are threatened – NBC News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should stores require, recommend or forgo policies regarding wearing masks inside stores amid the pandemic? How should shoppers that do not follow in-store social distancing guidelines established by authorities or businesses be managed?