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Costco will require shoppers to wear a face mask starting next week

How to grocery shop safely amid coronavirus
How to grocery shop safely amid coronavirus 08:32

Costco patrons will now have to remember something other than their shopping lists: a face mask. All Costco members and guests will be required to wear a mask or face covering while at the wholesale stores beginning next week, the retailer announced.

The company said shoppers must wear a "mask or face covering that covers the mouth and nose at all times while at Costco," in a recent coronavirus update on its website. The requirement goes into effect Monday.  

The rule does not apply to kids under two years old or people who cannot wear a mask or covering due to a medical condition, the company said. Costco emphasized that the new requirement "should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing" and urged customers to continue practicing social distancing while shopping. 

In addition, beginning Monday, select Costco warehouses will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday specifically for members 60 and older, as well as for people with disabilities. Costco also said it's offering temporary "priority access" to its warehouses for health care workers and first responders. They simply need to present a Costco card and official identification to move to the front of the line to enter the store.

The update added that most Costco locations and gas stations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will begin operating during regular hours Monday. 

Costco isn't the only major chain requiring face masks or coverings in its stores. As of last week, Walmart began requiring its 1.5 million workers to wear face masks and encouraged its shoppers to do so as well. Supermarket chain Publix started requiring its employees to wear face coverings beginning April 20 for "the duration of this national emergency," according to its website. Kroger grocery store employees have also been required to wear protective face covering since Sunday, according to CBS affiliate WBNS-TV.

The CDC began recommending that all Americans wear cloth face coverings in "public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain" in early April to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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