Costco, among the first retailers to require face masks upon entry in early May, has taken its restrictions a step further by mandating that customers with medical mask exemptions wear face shields.

The requirement applies to employees, as well. The only exception to the rule now is for children under the age of two. The changes come amid spikes in coronavirus cases across the U.S., which has seen the numbers of infected grow by more than 100,000 new cases per day for 12 straight days. Hospitalizations are at their highest point since the pandemic hit the U.S. earlier this year, and deaths are rising sharply, as well.

Earlier last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strengthened its mask recommendation, saying studies show they protect the wearer too. Previously, masks had been promoted more as a way to protect others.

Costco has faced confrontations from customers unwilling to comply with the company’s policy or exploiting the medical exemption clause although in-store incidents appear to have lessened in recent months.

RetailWire Discussion: Do you agree with Costco’s move to require customers with medical mask exemptions to wear face shields? Do you see mask requirements becoming less or more of an issue for American shoppers in the months ahead? Join the discussion at retailwire.com

“I agree with Costco’s move – perhaps some shoppers have heard that there’s a pandemic running out of control?

With the news of vaccines on the horizon, I understand that it would be easy to let our guards down, but this is far from over.

I think Costco is right to require masks and, as always, if shoppers don’t agree they can shop elsewhere. Safety of employees and shoppers must always come first.”


Mark Ryski

Author, CEO & Founder HeadCount Corporation