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Costco to require masks for shoppers, employees

Costco to require masks for shoppers, employees
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Retail chain Costco announced a new set of guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus on Wednesday, including requirements for all shoppers and employees to wear masks.

In a statement, the company also put new restrictions on the number of people allowed inside its locations at one time, with most stores now only allowing entry for up to two people per membership card. Some locations, including in Puerto Rico, have set the limit at one person per card.

The statement went on to note that mask requirements would not be enforced on small children or those medically unable to wear one.

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"To protect our members and employees, effective May 4, 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," the chain said.

"The use of a mask or face covering should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing. Please continue to observe rules regarding appropriate distancing while on Costco premises. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation," the statement continued.

Food courts operated by the company in many of its locations will remain open, Costco said, but a limited menu will be served and dine-in service will be prohibited. Many stores will also open one hour early on some days to allow for a special shopping period for elderly shoppers and those with disabilities.

Costco stores have remained open across the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has sickened more than a million people and forced many nonessential businesses to close.

"The issues presented by this crisis are new to all of us, and we at Costco don’t pretend to have all the answers. We are not perfect. But every step of the way, we’ve done our best to take care of our employees, take care of our members and support our communities. And we will continue to do so," the company's CEO said in a separate statement.