Business/Economy

Costco to require customers nationwide to wear face masks starting Monday

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Costco will begin requiring customers nationwide to wear face masks starting Monday to protect employee and shopper health, the warehouse retailer announced this week.

Anchorage health officials have recommended the use of face masks in public, but it has not been mandated at essential businesses.

In its Monday announcement, Costco said children under age 2 and anyone with a medical condition that would prevent them from wearing a mask over their face and mouth is exempt from the policy.

The move aims to add protection for shoppers and employees, but company officials said customers are still encouraged to practice social distancing.

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Other chain stores, including Fred Meyer and Carrs, are requesting but not requiring that customers follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes staying 6 feet away from others in public and wearing a mask to prevent spreading germs that could transmit coronavirus.

“We respectfully request for our customers to continue their social distancing practices while in stores, and to please wear a mask to protect each other and our store employees,” said Sara Osborne, a spokeswoman for Carrs, which is owned by Idaho-based Albertsons.

Carrs stores plan to expand hours on Sunday, with many stores in the Anchorage area remaining open until 1 a.m., Osborne said. The stores will continue to set aside specific hours for the elderly and at-risk community to shop, and pickup services will still be available.

Employees at Carrs continue to wear company-provided masks.

Anchorage this week began its first phase of easing restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing nonessential businesses to reopen after six weeks of closure. Reopening nonessential businesses still face a number of regulations, including requirements for customers and employees to wear cloth masks as recommended by the CDC.

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Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

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