Costco is requiring all customers to wear masks or other face coverings, the company announced on Wednesday.
The new rule, implemented “to protect our members and employees,” goes in effect Monday, May 4, the company said in a statement.
“All Costco members and guests must wear a mask or face covering that covers the mouth and nose at all times while at Costco. This requirement does not apply to children under the age of 2 or to individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition,” it stated.
The rule is not meant as a substitute for social distancing or keeping distance between an individual and people they don’t live with.
“Please continue to observe rules regarding appropriate distancing while on Costco premises. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation,” Costco stated.
A number of cities, counties, and states across the nation require people to wear masks inside crowded public places like grocery stores. The federal government reversed its previous recommendation regarding masks last month, advising people to wear masks in areas where “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
The reversal came because of a growing body of evidence pointing to significant portions of COVID-19 patients showing no symptoms.
Other studies suggest people who aren’t showing symptoms can transmit the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus from China that causes COVID-19.
Costco has made a number of policy changes due to the pandemic, ordering no more than two people to enter warehouses in the United States with each membership card. Stores in El Paso, Texas, the state of Kentucky, and Puerto Rico are only allowing one person in per card.
Costco warehouses are reserving 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday for members 60 or older and people with disabilities.
The CCP virus primarily causes severe illness in the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.