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

Local poet and VIU professor Sonnet L’Abbé wrote and performed a song as part of the city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign. (Photo courtesy City of Nanaimo/Port Theatre)
Poet pens song as part of city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign

Sonnet L’Abbé encourages a friend to move to the city in ‘Nazaneen: A Song for Nanaimo’

Const. Joshua Waltman brings knowledge gained from working with people experiencing homelessness in Surrey to his new role as the RCMP’s mental health liaison officer in Nanaimo where he will work with people from across society who find themselves struggling with mental health crisis. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo RCMP’s mental health liaison says his role will take persistence and resilience

Const. Joshua Waltman talks about limiting anxiety and gaining trust of people in mental crises

Janice Perrino, Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation CEO, holds information brochures for the Light the Trees campaign, part of an effort to raise $5 million for the new intensive care unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Million-dollar donation has Light the Trees campaign off to a bright start in Nanaimo

Windsor Plywood Foundation supports Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation

Regional District of Nanaimo will be receiving $1.17 million from the B.C. government in COVID-19 safe restart grant money. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo directors getting started on budgeting decisions

Proposed tax requisitions for 2021 range from 7.3-per cent increase to 2.2-per cent decrease

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson takes her oaths of office virtually on Thursday. (B.C. Government YouTube screen shot)
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson named B.C.’s mental health and addictions minister

Malcolmson succeeds Judy Darcy, who did not seek re-election

Police in Nanaimo never know what they’ll encounter when called upon to check on the well-being of people. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP find ‘heart-breaking’ circumstances during wellness checks

Police offer sampling of outcomes from well-being checks over recent weeks

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read