Costco, the wholesaler retailer, has updated its mask policy to deny entry to customers even with medical conditions, which a critic of mask mandates calls a useless attempt at reassuring the public.
The policy, announced to customers in a Nov. 10 letter, is meant to combat the spread of COVID-19 at the same time cases are reportedly spiking in several states.
"If a member has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they must wear a face shield at Costco," Craig Jelinek, the retailer's president and CEO, wrote in the letter to members.
Entry to Costco "will only be granted to those wearing a face mask or face shield,” though children under age 2 are exempt.
Twila Brase of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, who is a registered nurse, vocally opposes face mask rules, which she calls “safety theater” for the frightened public.
“And by that,” she explains, “I mean this is all about having a certain look of safety as compared to a reality of safety. For one thing, the masks do not prevent the virus from getting in contact with someone. It doesn't protect others. It doesn't protect them."
Medical professionals and politicians are routinely pleading with the public to wear a face mask in public, insisting it helps stop the spread of the virus.
Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, urged others to wear one after he was hospitalized with COVID-19 last month. He did not wear one while at the White House.
"Wear it or you may regret it --- as I did," he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Critics, however, point out the highly contagious virus is not the death sentence it was predicted to be, and there is also pushback on the claims that wearing a face mask, of any kind, is preventing customers from spreading it in a store aisle or at the checkout counter.
Costco imposed a face mask policy in May but members who could not wear a mask due to a medical condition were exempt.
Asked about the use of face shields, Brase has the same opinion: They don’t work.
"There's lot of room, lots of very visible room, on all sides,” she points out, “where the air just goes in and out and around. This is just more like theater than reality."
Brase has encouraged the public to go without a face mask on Fridays.