Menards, Costco to require customers to wear face masks while shopping: 'There's no reason not to'

MILWAUKEE -- Wearing a mask is a simple way to protect store employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eau Claire-based retailer Menards is now requiring its customers to wear a mask while inside the store. With no way of knowing who has the virus, the company calls the move a simple, common-sense precaution.

Menards Statement:

"While hoping for the best, we have to assume the worst, that being that everyone may potentially be infected, and act accordingly."

Aundrea Wright

"I think it's nice," said Brown Deer resident Aundrea Wright. "Everybody wearing masks, everybody will be safer, that way there's no one coughing, or sneezing on anyone."

If a shopper doesn't have a mask, Menards is offering them up for $1.

Last month, the CDC recommended that people wear cloth face coverings like scarves or bandanas when in public -- such as in stores, where social distancing is hard to practice.

Janice Brockunier

Studies have shown that large portions of those with COVID-19 may never show symptoms and transmit the virus before falling ill.

Also worth noting, the CDC recommends those cloth face coverings and not surgical facemasks like the highly sought-after N-95 respirators which are still needed by frontline workers.

"I think it's a very good thing. There's no reason not to," Milwaukee resident Janice Brockunier said. "I think it's a healthy thing to do."


Washington-based bulk retailer Costco has also followed suit. The company is requiring masks starting May 4, but says that wearing a mask should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing.

Clay Johnson

"You see it coming. What are you going to do? You just comply and wear a mask, I guess," said Clay Johnson of Menomonee Falls.

The requirement does not apply to children under the age of 2 or people who can't wear facial covering due to a medical condition. Costco also will not allow more than two people to enter the warehouse with each membership card.

"I don't know if I necessarily agree with it," Johnson said. "I'm a personable guy, I like seeing people, and smiling, and joking and stuff like that. It's harder to understand people, with the masks on, and so you don't have that sense of looking at that person and seeing their mouth move."

Also starting May 4, certain stores will open from 9-10 a.m., Monday-Friday for those 60 years old and older and those with disabilities.