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

Pixabay image
Surrey council moves to update city’s telecommunication antennas policy

But councillor says health and safety protocols are nearly 40 years old

Steven Pettigrew. ( File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey councillor says buffer zones between drug stores should not be reduced

Council approved a variance permit to reduce the minimum separation requirement between drug stores and methadone dispensaries to 90 metres from the current 400 metres

Surrey Police Service cruiser. (File photo)
Surrey Police Service, CUPE sign staff transfer agreement from RCMP to new force

Chief Constable says there will be ‘no disruption’ to police service during transfer

SkyTrain running through Whalley. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Mayors’ Council wants feds to fund Surrey-Langley SkyTrain in upcoming budget

Mayors’ Council on regional transportation sent letter to federal government Monday

Spring Break kits available for free at Surrey Libraries branches. (submitted photo)
Free ‘Spring Break Kits’ for kids at Surrey Libraries

Children don’t need a library card to get a kit, but can sign up for one for free

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Some of the hundreds of pounds of trash removed by divers last month from Abbotsford’s Walmsley Lake.(Henry Wang photo)
VIDEO: Divers remove 462 pounds of trash from Abbotsford lake

Walmsley Lake dive uncovers several tires, hundreds of drink containers and a tent

Trent Miner is returning to the Vancouver Giants, the team announced. He has been released by the Colorado Eagles of the AHL.(Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)
Trent Miner returns to play goal for Vancouver Giants

Netminder was part of epic 11-game winning-streak by Langley-based team

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Most Read