Is CostCo Requiring Shoppers to Cover Their Faces?

As the CostCo retail chain prepared to implement new requirements for shoppers, a message of support for the policy gained traction among Facebook users.

The post is based around a photograph of a sign informing shoppers that members will be required to wear face coverings when shopping at CostCo warehouses starting on Monday, May 4 2020.

“Members without face coverings will not be permitted inside the warehouse,” the sign reads:

At least one iteration of the lengthy post, attributed to Cherrie Vierra Lonkar, has been shared nearly 1,000 times on the platform. She wrote:

Ask yourself why you, a retail shopper deserve a handout from Costco. I mean you’ve eaten $5000 worth of free samples there in your lifetime anyway. We are asking many of our healthcare workers to wear bandanas and t-shirts as masks. You aren’t above it. There are school children all over this country who are sewing masks to give away. If a 7 year old can be a decent person and choose to make the world a little more comfortable or safe, then so can you.

This isn’t a Burger King drive-through, and no we can’t have it our way. This disease, infection, pandemic, whatever you wanna call it, doesn’t give a shit about you or me. Doesn’t give a shit about black, white, short, tall, age, gender. It’s not our battle to dictate.

The bottom line is, don’t be a dick. Just put a mask on your self centered, mouth breathing face and let the greeter see the smile in our eyes as we head off to buy our cases of bottled water, pool floats, 10 pound bags of Cheetos, bulk items and cheap premixed margaritas. You’ll be fine.

However another version, presented as an extended quote without attribution, has been shared more than 4,500 times since being posted on April 29, 2020.

CostCo president Craig Jelinek confirmed the new rule in a letter to members posted on the company’s website, saying:

Costco employees are required to wear face coverings, and now we are asking that Costco members do so too. 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.

In short, we believe this is the right thing to do under the current circumstances. Although some may disagree with this policy or question its effectiveness, we’re choosing to err on the side of safety in our shopping environments. Costco has continued to operate during this crisis as an essential business in all of our communities, and our employees are on the front lines. As part of a community, we believe this simple act of safety and courtesy is one that Costco members and employees can undertake together.

However, the requirement does not extend to children under the age of 2 or to anyone who cannot wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons.

Several states and retail chains have shifted safety policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some opting to walk back laws banning the use of non-reusable shopping bags.