Costco: Shoppers, Employees Must Wear Masks Amid COVID-19 Crisis

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 - 5:20pm
Updated: Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 7:05am

Shoppers inside a north Phoenix Costco
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Shoppers inside a north Phoenix Costco on April 28, 2020.

Shopping at one of Arizona's biggest retailers is about to change as Costco announced new rules during the COVID-19 crisis.

Starting Monday, May 4, all employees and club members must wear masks or face coverings at 18 Arizona warehouses. Children under 2 and people who are unable to cover their mouths and noses due to medical conditions will be exempt. 

On its website, Costco says masks are not a substitute for social distancing and only two people per membership card will be allowed inside. First responders and health care workers who show official identification and Costco cards will be able to move to the front of the line.

The warehouses will be limited weekday mornings between 9 and 10 a.m. to shoppers 60 and older and those with disabilities. 

Unlike other retailers that have banned reusable bags, Costco said it will allow members to use their own bags as long as they pack the items themselves.

The company said it will continue to limit the number of certain items that members can buy in order to ensure people have access to high demand merchandise. Costco, like many retailers, will not accept returns on specific items, including toilet paper, bottled water, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, disinfecting spray and rice.

In a letter to members, Craig Jelinek, president and CEO, wrote:

"The changes we’ve made to our business are too numerous to list, but some examples include: limits in our locations on the number of members; social distancing in lines; enhanced sanitation; limited services in certain businesses; modified weekday hours; plexiglass shields at checkstands; and special hours for seniors and high-risk groups. A few examples of how we are taking care of our employees include: premium pay; paid time off for higher-risk employees; protective masks and symptom screenings; and remote work for our office employees."

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