Costco Kicks out Customer for Refusing to Wear Face Mask

Costco is taking its coronavirus-related rules seriously. In a video shared to social media Tuesday that has since gone viral, one Costco employee is seen kicking out a shopper who refused to wear a face mask while inside the warehouse. The company currently requires all employees and customers to wear a face covering while in the store.

In the 36-second-long clip, the employee identifies himself as Tison and admits that he is "asking this man to put on a mask because that is our company policy." Before he has the chance to continue, the shopper interrupts him, telling the employee and viewers that he is "not doing it, because I woke up in a free country." Adhering to company policies by wearing a mask, Tison begins to pull the cart away from the shopper as he tells him to "have a great day" and that the shopper is "no longer welcome here in our warehouse" and needs "to leave." He is seen wheeling the filled cart away from the shopper and through a crowd of other shoppers, all of whom are also wearing a face covering.

According to TMZ, the disgruntled shopper continued to rally against the company in a second video that he shared in which he further discussed what had occurred. In the video, the shopper declared that he has "every f—ing right to not wear a mask anywhere, because this isn't about not wearing a mask." Instead, he suggested that "this is about control," adding that he is "not the f—ing sheep." He said that everyone else abiding by the rules “are the f—ing sheep.” He went on to allege that the Costco employee was "hovering over" him and "stalking" him and defended his decision not to wear a mask by stating, "if everyone else is wearing a mask, then one person should be able to fly, if anything."

The video quickly went viral, with many of those holding a Costco membership applauding the employee’s actions with the "Costco Tison" hashtag, which began to trending Wednesday morning. As many pointed out, while wearing a mask may not be favorable, it is essential for the safety of employees and other shoppers in the midst of the pandemic.

Others said that when you sign up for a Costco membership, you sign up to abide by the company’s rules, including the new ones that have been added in recent weeks in response to the coronavirus. Tison, meanwhile, seems to be enjoying the support. On Twitter, an account appearing to be that of the employee thanked people "for all of the support" and said that he was "just trying to protect our employees and our members." He then shared a photo of himself giving a thumbs up.

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Along with with a number of other new policies, such as shortened hours, Costco in early May announced that all customers shopping at its warehouses would be required to wear masks for the duration of their time in the store. Acknowledging that "some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable," the company said that they believed "the added safety is worth any inconvenience," as it was "not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer, but others too." The company added that while "some may disagree with this policy or question its effectiveness," they were "choosing to err on the side of safety in our shopping environments."

Costco has not yet responded to the incident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the that all people wear cloth face coverings when in public and in places where "social distancing measures are difficult to maintain," such as grocery stores and pharmacies.