Costco will no longer be allowing non-medical mask exemptions, beginning Nov. 16, 2020. (Facebook)

Costco will no longer be allowing non-medical mask exemptions, beginning Nov. 16, 2020. (Facebook)

COVID-19: Costco to require face-shields for those medically exempt from wearing masks

Alternatively, Costco says those who cannot wear masks should wear face shields

Costco Canada will soon be making face shields a mandatory requirement to enter its stores for those who cannot wear masks due to medical reasons – marking one of the first chains in B.C. to add this stipulation to mask policies.

According to signage posted in at least two warehouse locations – in Coquitlam and in Surrey – the new policy will take effect on Nov. 16, and follows similar rules implemented in locations across the border last week.

Starting Nov. 16, face masks will be mandatory for those who can wear them, with the exemption of children under the age of two. Prior to this announcement, masks were recommended but not required in Costco stores.

“If a member has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they must wear a face shield at Costco,” CEO Craig Jelinek said in a statement on Nov. 10.

“This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some; however, we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. 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.”

There are a number of reasons a person may not be able to wear a non-medical face covering or mask, including those with disabilities. This includes those who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who are blind or who have low vision, and those who need respiratory apparatus to help them breath.

ALSO READ: B.C. woman who can’t wear a mask feels unfairly judged

In B.C., masks are not mandatory under provincial health guidelines but are encouraged when indoors as a way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, recommends close-fitting non-medical masks but currently has not issued specified recommendations on face shields.

Since May, many large grocery chains and other stores have implemented mandatory non-medical mask rules for shoppers.

Most people who cannot wear a mask have received doctors’ notes to indicate their exemption, which they can show if questioned.

Earlier this month, the BC Human Rights Commissioner released guidelines on how employers, landlords and service providers should follow human rights codes when creating mask policies.

“Following public health guidance, including wearing a mask in many circumstances, is an important way to protect the most marginalized and medically vulnerable people among us,” Commissioner Kasari Govender said.

“But when we require people to wear masks, it’s important to ensure that those who cannot wear them do not face automatic negative consequences like losing their job or being denied key services.”

Disability Alliance BC board chair, Pam Horton, told Black Press Media that face shields are not always a remedy for those who cannot wear non-medical masks.

Horton, who uses a power wheelchair, said that while she can use a non-medical mask for short periods of time she cannot put the mask on without help from a caregiver or friend. A face shield would pose similar issues.

For those who use a sip and puff wheelchair, which operates with the use of a straw or tube, non-medical masks are not an option.

“Just as each person’s disability is unique to them, mask usage is unique to each person,” Horton said.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm homes with dazzling Christmas light displays are wanted for the inaugural Light Up the Night Christmas Light Contest. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Festive contest encourages Salmon Arm to light up the night

Prizes to be won for homes with best Christmas displays

Damage to window panes at the downtown Salmon Arm Askew’s location could still be seen on Dec. 4. It was apparently caused by a pellet gun overnight on Dec. 2. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Windows damaged by pellet gun at both Salmon Arm Askew’s locations

Window panes were shot multiple times overnight on Dec. 2.

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Vote Vernon initiative, presented by VantageOne Credit Union, calls on residents to shop local this Christmas season. (Black Press file)
Small businesses hurt by federal COVID-19 response: North Okanagan-Shuswap MP

Mel Arnold calls for more accessible programming for businesses; supports local holiday shopping

Shuswap Cider Company has applied for a licence that would accommodate a cider manufacturing facility, a tasting room and patio/lounge area at Westgate Market in Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Cider manufacturing facilty, tasting room and patio proposed for Salmon Arm

Council asked to raise a virtual glass to a licence for a cidery and amenities in Westgate Mall

Interior Health logo. (File photo)
Flooding at health centre cancels lab and medical appointments in Sicamous

A burst pipe caused the flooding which has not affected physician services

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty ventilators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

Numerous businesses, including the Roxie movie theater, have closed to try and stop spread of COVID-19. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke COVID-19 cases tick slowly up to 49

An increase of only three cases since Nov. 30

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

The Grinch was stolen Wednesday and returned sometime in the night on Friday. (Hughes photo - Facebook)
The Grinch has been returned to Penticton home

“I guess someone’s heart grew three times that night” says April Hughes

An Armstrong resident shared video of a beaver gnawing away on a stick to Facebook Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Robyn Civic Adnoh photo)
WATCH: Beaver gnaws away in Armstrong wetlands

A resident captured video of a beaver chewing happily in a local creek Friday

Two Kelowna flights have been flagged as having COVID-19 cases on board. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 cases on several Kelowna flights

The flights were on Nov. 19, 22, 24 and 27, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control

Most Read