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Costco to require people with medical mask exemptions to wear face shield
Costco updated its face covering policy to require people with a medical exemption from wearing a mask to instead wear a face shield in the store.
The company will mandate all members, guests and employees to wear a face mask or face shield in the store starting on Nov. 16, except for children younger than 2 years old, according to a guidance updated Tuesday.
"Members and guests must wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose at all times," the guidance reads. "Individuals who are unable to wear a face mask due to a medical condition must wear a face shield."
"Entry to Costco will be granted only to those wearing a face mask or face shield," it added.
The guidance is a change from Costco's original mask mandate that started May 4, which exempted those who could not wear a mask due to a medical condition.
President and CEO Craig Jelinek announced the change in a letter to Costco members saying, "This is no longer the case."
"If a member has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they must wear a face shield at Costco," he said.
"This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience," he continued. "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."
Costco emphasized that face masks and shields "should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing" and encouraged shoppers to continue to practice that.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people wear masks in public spaces where people cannot socially distance. The health agency notes that face shields are used for eye protection but does not recommend them as substitutes for masks.
"At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer," the CDC guidance reads. "There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks."
The newest guidance comes as the U.S. is seeing a massive spikes in coronavirus cases, with the country recording more than 140,000 confirmed infections Wednesday.