A story on store mask exception that poses risks to staff and customers
My name is Bill Loving. I am a retired professor of journalism and media law. I am reaching out to you with a news tip regarding COVID-19 and retail. We can remember the viral video of the Costco shopper who was kicked out of a store for refusing to wear a mask. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8fkVqEZGRA
I was among many who applauded Costco for working to protect its customers and staff.
Recently, I noticed shoppers in my local Costco without masks. I spoke with a manager who said that Costco's mask requirement had an exception for persons with a medical condition that made them incapable of wearing masks. People don't have to cite a condition. They just have to say, "I have a medical condition" (I did that on one visit and was allowed to enter the store and shop. I put my mask on as soon as I left the entrance.)
The news tip is that stores and places of public accommodation provide less protection to the public and their employees with exceptions.:
!. A medical condition that precludes the use of masks does not confer COVID-19 immunity.
2. Anti-maskers can simply claim a condition to be exempt. An employee at the Costco mentioned to me that some shoppers said masks "made them crazy."
An anti-masker is not likely to follow CDC guidelines and represents a risk to staff and customers.
I have expressed my concerns to Costco headquarters and suggested that its stores could offer curbside service for persons who can't or won't wear masks or designate an hour for maskless customers. That does not eliminate the risks to store staff.
Thank you for reading this.