Hey, Bismarck Costco members! Did you catch the big news about Costco's new corporate mask policy? The company's President and CEO, Craig Jelinek recently announced that there will be no exemptions for members, guests, or employees when it comes to masking up while inside Costco stores. I guess I should not say there are no exceptions to the new rule - the only customers exempt are those under the age of two.

Costco's new mask rule will go into effect starting Monday (November 16). Craig Jelinek's message to Costco-goers states, "...We believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. Our goal is to continue to provide a safe shopping environment for our members and guests, and to provide a safe work environment for our employees." Those who are unable to wear a mask will have to wear a face shield. You can read the full message from Craig Jelinek of Costco here.

With cases rising like wildfire during cold, flu, and holiday shopping season, I am thinking we can expect to see this type of policy implemented in more stores. It is interesting that, with this pandemic, every new policy (whether store or state) has a domino effect. Even in North Dakota. As we have seen, we do not have as much freedom from mask-wearing as we did at the beginning of the "North Dakota Smart Restart" plan.

Since the start of the pandemic, our governor has suggested that we be "North Dakota Smart" and make the personal choice to mask up and physical distance. But everything that happens nationally (and even regionally) has kind of been forced on us. Like other states, salons, bars, and other "non-essential" businesses were forced to temporarily close. Other states implemented mask and distancing policies, then Fargo did it, and now other North Dakota cities are implementing nearly the exact same policies.

It clearly does not take an executive statewide mandate order from our Governor for North Dakotans to be forced into complying with pandemic recommendations.