Costco will require coronavirus masks for customers, employees to slow spread

Face Masks Required at 10 Biggest Chains, Including Walmart

Costco will require coronavirus masks for customers, employees to slow spread

NRF rank: 1

U.S. stores: 5,355 (including Sam’s Club)

The nation’s biggest retailer started requiring customers to wear masks at all Walmart and Sam's Club stores on July 20.

The rule represents “a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities,” the company said in announcing the policy on July 15.

Employees will be stationed at store entrances to remind customers of the requirement and work with those who arrive without a mask.


NRF rank: 2

U.S. stores: 564

The e-commerce giant instituted a mask requirement on July 20 at its Whole Foods Market supermarkets and Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star and other branded brick-and-mortar outlets.


NRF rank: 3

U.S. stores: 3,003

The country's largest supermarket chain put a mask mandate in place on July 22. “We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country,” the company said in a July 15 statement.


NRF rank: 4

U.S. stores: 542

The members-only warehouse club was the first major national retailer to implement a face-mask requirement, doing so on May 4. Costco updated the policy on Nov. 10, mandating that customers who could not wear a mask due to a medical condition — who were previously exempt from the face-covering rule — use a face shield instead. The new policy took effect Nov. 16. 


NRF rank: 5

U.S. stores: 9,168

Citing guidance from the CDC and other public health officials, the nation’s biggest drugstore chain announced July 16 that it is “expanding requirements for customers to wear face covers while in stores across all Walgreens locations chainwide.” The policy took effect July 20.

Home Depot

NRF rank: 6

U.S. stores: 1,973

As of July 22, customers must wear face coverings at all Home Depot stores. “Social distancing captains and store associates will be available to provide masks to those shoppers who may not have one,” the company said in announcing the change on July 17.


NRF rank: 7

U.S. stores: 9,909

CVS started requiring masks in all stores on July 20. “We’re not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer,” Jon Roberts, the pharmacy chain's chief operating officer, said in a July 16 statement. “What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering.”


NRF rank: 8

U.S. stores: 1,868

“Starting August 1, we’re requiring guests to wear masks or face coverings in all of our stores, except for those with underlying medical conditions and young children,” the company said in a July 16 update to its coronavirus response page. Stores will provide disposable masks to shoppers who arrive without one.


NRF rank: 9

U.S. stores: 1,727

The home improvement chain’s mask mandate took effect July 20. “For the safety of everyone in our stores, we ask that customers wear masks, and to make this new standard less restrictive, we will make masks available to those who need them,” CEO Marvin Ellison said in a July 17 statement.


NRF rank: 10

U.S. stores: 2,258

“Effective July 21, 2020, we will require customers across all of our locations to wear face coverings when shopping with us, for their protection and for that of our associates,” the parent company of Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel Osco and other grocery chains announced July 16  on its corporate website.

Apple Store

NRF rank: 11

U.S. stores: 271

“Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own,” the tech retailer announced on May 17 as it was reopening its stores.


NRF rank: 13

U.S. stores: 13,846

Starting Aug. 1, customers are required “to wear face coverings when entering our U.S. restaurants,” the company said in a July 24 statement. The fast-food giant said it will aim to “quickly find solutions” when patrons are unable or unwilling to wear a mask and will “put in place additional procedures to take care of them in a friendly, expedited way.”

Best Buy

NRF rank: 14

U.S. stores: 995

“Customers and employees are required to wear a face covering. We will supply a face covering if you don’t have one,” the electronics retailer states in an online rundown of its in-store safety measures. The mandate was announced July 14 and implemented the following day.


NRF rank: 15

U.S. stores: 1,479

“Beginning July 21, customers are required to use face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside any Publix store,” the supermarket chain said in a message posted July 16 to its web page on coronavirus shopping protocols. “This new mandate is encouraged by the CDC for most individuals.”

TJX Companies

NRF rank: 16

U.S. stores: 3,247

TJX is the parent of T.J.Maxx and Marshalls, as well as outdoor store Sierra and home furnishings chain HomeGoods. Identical customer information pages on each brand’s website state, “In all of our U.S. stores, customers are required to wear face coverings.” The mandate was implemented on July 30.


NRF rank: 17

U.S. stores: 2,586

The discount grocery chain updated its COVID-19 page July 17 to announce a shift from requesting to requiring that shoppers wear face coverings, as “an enhanced safety measure intended to help limit the spread of COVID-19.” The new policy took effect July 27.

Dollar General

NRF rank: 18

U.S. stores: 16,368

“To enhance social distancing and cleaning protocols, and except as may be otherwise required by law, Dollar General currently requires all employees, vendors and customers to wear facial coverings in stores, distribution centers and corporate offices,” the discount chain said in an Aug. 9 update on its COVID-19 response.


NRF rank: 19

U.S. stores: 333

In a June 30 update of a press statement, the Texas grocery chain said that 85 percent of its stores are located in communities that have implemented local mask requirements, adding, “In areas that do not have a local ordinance in place, H-E-B stores will require the use of masks or facial coverings,” with exceptions for children and people with health issues that preclude this practice.


NRF rank: 20

U.S. stores: 780

Macy’s shoppers are required to wear masks as of July 22. The department store chain said in a July 17 statement that employees will not be required to enforce the policy.

Dollar Tree

NRF rank: 21

U.S. stores: 15,059

The discount retailer, which also operates the Family Dollar chain, first instituted a mask mandate on July 8, switched later that month to requesting that shoppers cover their faces, then reinstated the requirement in early August.


NRF rank: 22

U.S. stores: 1,600-plus

“Customers are required to wear cloth face coverings” at Verizon’s retail locations, according to the company’s web page on store operations.


NRF rank: 24

U.S. stores: 1,171

The department store made face-covering mandatory on July 20. With government mask orders already applying to about 70 percent of its locations, “we’ve made the decision to take a consistent approach across our entire store fleet,” the company said in a July 15 announcement.


NRF rank: 26

U.S. stores: 15,041

The coffee chain’s mask mandate took effect July 15.

“We respectfully require customers follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores,” Starbucks states on its COVID-19 information page. The company says employees “have the right and responsibility to refuse service to customers who are not wearing facial coverings.”


Face mask requirements: Can stores make you wear a mask? Do kids have to wear masks?

Costco will require coronavirus masks for customers, employees to slow spread

This woman said she felt threatened when a fellow customer cursed her out for not wearing a mask at a Los Angeles Trader Joe's. Storyful

Businesses can require consumers to wear shirts, pants and shoes – but what about masks? 

Conflicts at businesses and viral videos of shoppers' tirades have erupted in recent weeks as coronavirus cases surge in 40 states and at least 21 states pause reopening plans.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, states have varied on mandates, and some cities and counties issue their own requirements. Meanwhile, several retailers including Walmart, Target and Kroger have announced they will require customers wear face masks at all stores nationwide.

Last month, a woman without a mask at a California Trader Joe's called employees and shoppers “Democratic pigs” and screamed profanities because she said she felt threatened when a fellow customer cursed her out for not wearing a mask. 

In Fort Worth, Texas, a woman was recorded spitting on a 7-Eleven counter Monday after the cashier refused to ring up her purchase because she was not wearing a mask.

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Customers wait in line to enter a store at Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., on June 29. (Photo: Seth Wenig/AP)

Workers, including grocery store employees, who fought for measures such as masks at the onset of the pandemic, are having to fight for the measures again, said Susan Hernandez, a longtime employee at a California Food 4 Less and UFCW 770 member.

“We urge shoppers to think of themselves, think of their families and think of us when they are at the store. Please wear a mask,” Hernandez said, noting that when a customer “gets aggressive, we try to deescalate the situation.”

To protect workers, some retailers won't confront shoppers who enter without a mask.

“Walgreens encourages customers to wear face coverings but concern for employees’ safety, advises against confronting customers about the policy or trying to keep them from entering stores,” the drugstore chain said in its COVID-19 frequently asked questions.

If you're planning to shop, know the answers to these FAQs:

Can stores and restaurants require masks?

Yes. Local governments can decide what safety measures to impose on businesses, but individual businesses can institute further restrictions.

Many governors instituted or renewed orders requiring people to wear face coverings in public.

Most of the orders require people to wear masks in both indoor and outdoor public spaces where social distancing isn't possible, but some apply to only specific places or age groups.

Which states require face masks? Kansas, Texas join growing list of states where it's mandatory

National mask mandate? Goldman Sachs says it could lower virus infections and help recovery


This is how often you should wash your cloth face mask. USA TODAY

What stores require masks at all locations?

Stores requiring shoppers wear masks at all locations include Costco Wholesale Club, Walmart, Target and Apple.

Whole Foods and Wegmans follow local ordinances on mask requirements. Texas-based H-E-B started requiring all customers to wear a face mask or covering when shopping in all its stores July 1, reported the Corpus Christi Caller Times, part of the USA TODAY Network.

Do ride-shares require masks?

Yes. Uber and Lyft say drivers and passengers have to wear face masks. Uber announced it extended its mask requirement indefinitely throughout the USA and Canada.

“Extending our 'No Mask, No Ride' policy is the right thing to do,” Uber said in a statement. “We want to send a clear message to everyone using Uber that we all have a role to play to keep each other safe.” 

According to a Pew Research Center survey in June, 65% of U.S. adults say they have personally worn a mask in stores or other businesses all or most of the time in the past month, and 15% say they did this some of the time. The survey found 9% of adults say they hardly ever wear a mask, and 7% say they never wore a mask in the past month.

Wearing a mask is a best practice widely agreed upon by scientists. Masks, even homemade or ear-loop masks, help slow the spread of the virus, according to studies. Although it is not a medical debate, it has become a politically charged one.

According to a report from nonprofit Media Matters for America, posts over the past month about masks from right-leaning pages got more than 5.

5 million interactions, and the posts promoting skepticism about the efficacy of face coverings got the most interactions.


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the White House press corps Thursday that President Trump supports Americans wearing masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. (July 2) AP Domestic

What does the CDC say about face coverings?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and around people who don’t live in their household, especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

“COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected,” the CDC says on its website, noting that “wearing cloth face coverings may not be possible in every situation” for some people and “may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns.”

Can masks cause low oxygen levels?

The American Lung Association said June 18 in a blog that “masks are designed to be breathed through and there is no evidence that low oxygen levels occur” and that there is “absolutely no scientific evidence that mask wearing or physical distancing weakens the immune system.” People with preexisting lung problems should “discuss mask wearing concerns with their health care providers,” the association said.

USA TODAY fact checked claims that wearing a face mask for prolonged periods of time would cause someone to experience significant reductions in oxygen intake, resulting in hypoxemia. The fact check found no evidence to support this. Cloth and surgical masks are unly to cause a dangerous drop in oxygen intake because they are not tight-fitting.

“In general, if your breathing condition is well enough to allow yelling or being outside without oxygen, you can wear a mask medically,” Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent, said when discussing the California Trader Joe's incident on “Good Morning America” June 29.

Face-mask-exempt cards? Not real

Though social media posts claim cardholders are exempt from wearing a mask because of health reasons, the cards are fake. The Americans With Disabilities Act website warns of “fraudulent facemask flyers.” 

An anti-mask group called the Freedom to Breathe Agency is suspected of creating the face-mask-exempt cards, which, according to images of the card posted on social media, note “steep penalties” are threatened if a business owner does not act accordingly.

Are people with disabilities required to wear masks?

According to the Southeast ADA Center in Atlanta, which provides training and guidance on access, if “a person with a disability is not able to wear a face mask, state and local government agencies and private businesses must consider reasonable modifications to a face mask policy so that the person with the disability can participate in, or benefit from, the programs offered or goods and services that are provided.”

Reasonable modifications listed included allowing customers to order with curbside pickup, offering appointments and face shields instead of face masks, the center said June 12 in a disability issues brief. Businesses may not have to offer services if they would require a fundamental change in the business model or create an undue burden or if a person poses a direct threat to the health of others.

“The requirement to modify a policy, practice or procedure does not include individuals without disabilities, as they are not protected under the ADA,” the brief said.

Should kids wear masks?

According to the CDC, cloth face coverings should not be worn by children younger than 2. Older children can and should wear masks, experts say. Schools across the nation are considering mask requirements when classes resume. Different areas have different requirements by age.

Wisconsin-based Menards, which said in early April that it would no longer allow children under 16 in any of its stores during the pandemic, is allowing children again. “Children are welcome. Masks or face coverings are required on children unless in arms or seated in shopping carts,” Menards says on its website.

Reviewed:27 face masks kids will actually wear

Contributing: Grace Hauck and Anna Staver, USA TODAY; Alexandria Rodriguez, Corpus Christi Caller Times; Leah Romero, Las Cruces Sun-News

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on : @KellyTyko

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These companies and businesses are requesting customers wear masks as Arizona reopens

Costco will require coronavirus masks for customers, employees to slow spread

As Arizona approaches the end of its stay-at-home order and businesses across the state prepare to reopen, some companies and businesses are enacting their own rules for how customers should prepare to step back through their doors.

Here is a list of businesses mandating that customers wear face masks or other protective coverings inside their stores: 

Whole Foods

Whole Foods will provide grocery shoppers with free single-use masks at all of their Arizona locations. 

In keeping with their request that all shoppers wear masks inside stores to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the company’s 500 stores will make masks available to customers who lack their own face covering at all store entrances, the company announced in a blog post.

“We are requesting that all customers wear masks while shopping in our stores to protect the health and safety of our team members and communities,” the company stated. “Stores will continue to follow local ordinances regarding personal protective equipment.”

All Whole Foods Market team members, Prime Now Shoppers and third-party workers are also required to wear face masks while working. Along with the required face masks, team members are also offered gloves and personal face shields for additional protection.

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Since Monday, May 4, all shoppers over the age of 2 have been required to wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose while shopping at Costco.

However, according to a statement on the company's website, that requirement does not apply to children under the age of 2 or individuals who are unable to wear a face covering due to medical conditions. 

“Costco employees are required to wear face coverings, and now we are asking that Costco members do so too,” the statement said. “We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience.”

The new requirement comes amid other “guest policy” additions, such as the limit of two people per Costco card entering the store.

“As part of a community, we believe this simple act of safety and courtesy is one that Costco members and employees can undertake together,” the statement said. “However, the use of a face covering should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing. Please continue to observe rules regarding appropriate distancing while at Costco.”

Pueblo Life

Pueblo Life, a plant nursery located near the intersection of Pierce and 10th Streets in Phoenix, announced on Instagram that they will be returning to their normal Monday through Friday hours with a mask requirement. 

“We’ll request everyone who comes in wears a mask and is courteous and aware, leaves their dogs at home and touches only what you intend to buy, but we hope to have some sense of normalcy and good music going,” according to the Instagram post. 

In addition, the shop said they will maintain social distancing guidelines, disinfect their screens between customers and other surfaces throughout the day. However, they will not be offering repotting services, nor a public restroom.

“Other than that, this whole entire ordeal has been stressful and weird and scary and we hope to provide some solace in a hot city,” the post said. 

View this post on Instagram

For the last month we’ve had at least one person in the shop every day watering and trimming, but mostly doing the deepest clean and most thorough inventorying we’ve ever had. It’s been really weird trying to balance closing for a month and keeping the shop running, but we’ve made it work with what we had. We’ve made the decision to open the shop up for normal hours this Friday through Monday. It’s not an easy decision and there really isn’t a right answer for how to process and move through the motions, but this is the call we had to make. We’ve cleared it with everyone who works here and we all feel comfortable and ok moving forward, with proper precautions in place. . We’ll be maintaining social distancing guidelines in the shop, disinfecting the screen between customers and surfaces as we go throughout the day. We accept Apple Pay, so that’s also an option. We’ll request everyone who comes in wears a mask and is courteous and aware, leaves their dogs at home and touches only what you intend to buy, but we hope to have some sense of normalcy and good music going. We’re not offering repotting services at this time, nor a public restroom. Other than that, this whole entire ordeal has been stressful and weird and scary and we hope to provide some solace in a hot city. . Lastly, we’ll be again be offering curbside later this week sometime. We don’t want to put anyone at risk who is compromised or just uncomfortable being in the shop and we’ll definitely work with anyone on that. Thank you guys and know we held out as long as we could.


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