Costco, Whole Foods take harder line: No mask, no entry

Customers wait in line to enter the Home Depot store at Midtown Place in March. Among retailers, Costco and Whole Foods have taken the lead in requiring customers to wear masks to shop, while others leave it up to the customer to decide. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
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Customers wait in line to enter the Home Depot store at Midtown Place in March. Among retailers, Costco and Whole Foods have taken the lead in requiring customers to wear masks to shop, while others leave it up to the customer to decide. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Many other retailers don’t require shoppers to cover face

As Georgia retailers begin reopening, few have joined Costco and Whole Foods in requiring customers to wear face masks while shopping.

Effective Monday, Costco began requiring those who enter its stores to wear face masks. And Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, implemented a mask policy along with handing them out to shoppers without one beginning in May.

The safety requirements of other retailers are varied, and are often listed prominently on company websites. Businesses such as Aldi and Macy’s suggest or encourage customers to wear masks, while others such as Walmart and Lowe’s do not mention it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic that face masks were not suggested for Americans in public, but changed its guidance in April, recommending that they be worn to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Stores are taking other steps to improve customer safety, from limiting the number of people in an establishment to placing clear plastic shields at cash registers and requiring employees to wear masks and gloves, though not all are taking that last step. Lowe’s website said it supplies masks to employees who want them.

As the rules covering sheltering in place are relaxed and more Georgians are getting out, there is concern that there will be an uptick in cases of coronavirus. CDC guidelines suggest limiting exposure to others, frequent handwashing, wearing a mask and maintaining a social distance of at least six feet and other steps to avoid getting it.

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