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

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged with criminal negligence in Coquihalla crash is accused of ignoring smoking brakes

Just before the crash the smoking truck seen entering Zopkios brake check and leaving shortly after

Have you seen these men? Crime Stoppers.
Kelowna RCMP look for men allegedly involved in bar brawl

The alleged assaults took place at a pub on Academy Way

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A webinar on dealing with dementia will be held Wednesday, March 10, 2021 (Submitted)
Webinar on dementia scheduled for March 10

Okanagan residents invited to event on legal issues surrounding dementia

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

Most Read