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As COVID-19 Cases Rise, Costco Is Changing Its Face Mask Policy

Now, every shopper over the age of 2 will have to wear a face mask or face shield when shopping. No exceptions.

Amid reports signaling that nearly every state has seen a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Costco has changed its coronavirus face mask policy to mandate that all shoppers over the age of 2 wear either a face mask or a face shield when inside its stores. Under the new policy, individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face mask are no longer able to shop without some form of personal protective equipment.

"Members and guests must wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose at all times," Costco's updated face mask policy noted. "Individuals who are unable to wear a face mask due to a medical condition must wear a face shield."

According to the wholesale club, the only people who won't be required to wear a face mask or face shield when shopping are children under the age of 2. "Entry to Costco will be granted only to those wearing a face mask or face shield," Costco's updated policy noted after specifying "children under the age of 2 are exempt."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend face masks be placed on children under the age of 2. Still, the CDC does recommend masks for anyone else who is conscious, breathing without issue, and capable of removing them without assistance. Most recently, the CDC released an updated scientific brief in which they noted there was growing evidence to suggest that cloth face masks not only protected other individuals from the person wearing the mask but also protected the wearer from inhaling potentially infectious droplets themselves.

Costco has updated its face-mask policy as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the United States.

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According to USA Today, Costco's updated face mask policy is slated to go into effect Nov. 16 and will apply not just to shoppers, but to employees as well.

While Costco was one of the first national retailers to implement a face mask policy in early May, its initial rule made an exception for customers who could not wear a mask due to a medical condition. "This is no longer the case," Costco President and CEO Craig Jelinek wrote in a letter to members earlier this week. "If a member has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they must wear a face shield at Costco."

In his letter to Costco members, Jelinek acknowledged the wholesale club's updated policy would, like its initial face mask policy, likely aggravate some customers. "This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however, we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience," Jelinek 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."

For customers who feel they cannot wear a face covering of any kind, Costco noted it had delivery options available.

When announcing their updated policy, the retailer also made sure to remind customers that even with a heightened face-mask policy in place, social distancing practices should still be vigilantly followed. "The use of a face covering should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing," Costco noted on its website. "Please continue to observe rules regarding appropriate distancing while on Costco premises."

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.