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Costco customer asked to leave U.S. store for not wearing a mask
Customers wearing protective masks from the coronavirus and keeping social distancing space line up to enter a Costco Wholesale store in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles, Saturday, May 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
TORONTO -- A man in Colorado is speaking out after he was asked to leave a Costco store for not wearing a mask, saying the company’s new policy is unfair.
The encounter happened on May 16 at a Costco in Thornton, Colo., and was recorded on cellphone video by the customer, who is being identified only as Garrett, by Storyful, according to reports verified and corroborated by the social news agency, Storyful
In the 36-second video, the man uses his phone to film a Costco employee, whose name badge identified him as "Tison," as he’s heard telling him, “I’ll just put you on my 3,000-follower Instagram feed.”
The employee looks directly into the camera and says, “Hi everyone. I work for Costco and I’m asking this member to put on a mask because that is our company policy.”
The employee offers the customer the option of wearing a mask or leaving the store. The customer then turns the camera on himself and says, “And I’m not doing it because I woke up in a free country.”
Following the customer's response, the employee can be seen walking away with the customer’s shopping cart.
The video has racked up more than 10,000 views since it was posted on YouTube on Wednesday.
In an interview with Storyful, the customer claimed he has been isolating at home for the past two months and does not have the coronavirus.
State health officials in Colorado are recommending people wear a non-medical face mask or covering while in public to help protect themselves and others from becoming infected with the virus.
A user on Twitter who identified himself as the Costco worker in the video tweeted a note to thank everyone for their support.
"I was just trying to protect our employees and our members,” he tweeted.
Costco began requiring all shoppers in their U.S. stores to wear masks in May as a protective measure to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, a move that aligns with recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control.
In Canada, Costco is recommending but not requiring customers to wear face masks in their stores. Physical distancing measures are still in place, and the company is enforcing a limit of two visitors per membership card.