Menards is the latest store to require shoppers to wear face masks

Other stores requiring masks as effectiveness is questioned.

Menards stores across the Midwest are requiring people to wear masks while shopping in the store, and if they don’t have one, they’re selling them for $1.

This requirement is among the changes Menards has made to its policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The home improvement chain has also banned children under age 16 and pets (except service dogs) in stores, but says families with children can use the buy online, pick-up at the store option.

Menards has also updated its store hours (6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday) and has reserved the first hour in the morning for elderly and vulnerable shoppers, increased cleaning procedures, and placed reminders and floor markers for people to encourage them to stay six feet away from each other while shopping.

It is encouraging shoppers and team members to continue to follow the World Health Organization’s steps to combat the spread of the virus, which include frequently washing your hands, staying six feet away from others, avoiding touching your face, making sure to cover your coughs and sneezes and staying home if you’re sick.

Menards is not the first store to require shoppers to cover their faces while in the store. The Minnesota Grocers Association in an April 29 update requests that shoppers wear face coverings while grocery shopping. 

And Costco, starting Monday, May 4, is requiring all employees and shoppers to wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times while in the store, except for children under the age of 2 or people who are unable to wear one due to a medical condition.

Craig Jelinek, the president and CEO of Costco, wrote in an update on the company’s website that they know some people may find this “inconvenient or objectionable,” but they believe the added safety is worth it.

“Although some may disagree with this policy or question its effectiveness, we’re choosing to err on the side of safety in our shopping environments,” Jelinek wrote.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending people wear cloth face coverings in public, especially in places where it’s hard to maintain six feet of space between you and others, such as grocery stores. The CDC says cloth face coverings, which cover the wearer's mouth and nose, can help protect others when someone who has the virus but has no symptoms wears a mask in public.

There are questions on the effectiveness of homemade cloth face masks, with some disease experts citing the lack of studies on the topic. A paper published by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on April 8 found homemade masks may capture large respiratory droplets, but there’s no evidence (because it hasn’t really been studied yet) that the masks stop the transmission of invisible droplets that are also believed to spread the virus, especially from people who have no symptoms and are still going out in public.

An opinion piece by Dr. Lisa Brosseau and Dr. Margaret Sietsema published on the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) website says wearing a mask may result in the wearer relaxing other social distancing efforts because they have a sense of protection. The piece also says data is lacking to recommend the general public wear face masks due to lack of evidence supporting their effectiveness.

Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of CIDRAP, worries that encouraging people to wear face masks will have people trying to get surgical masks or N-95 masks for better protection, creating an even larger shortage of the masks healthcare workers need to stay safe, the CIDRAP website says

Next Up

Andrelton Simmons / Minnesota Twins

Twins sign Andrelton Simmons to one-year deal

The former Angels shortstop is a four-time Gold Glove winner.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


walmart mask

Most grocery stores in MN now require shoppers to wear face masks

As cities mandate masks and health officials recommend them, more retailers are starting to require them.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalski's will require shoppers to wear masks

The main protection people get from masking occurs when others in their communities also wear face coverings, the CDC says.

Best Buy

Best Buy now requiring shoppers wear face masks in its stores

The Richfield retailer announced its new policy on Tuesday.

walmart mask

Walmart, Sam's Club will require shoppers to wear masks in all stores

This comes as the CDC said Tuesday, "Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus."

face mask

Coronavirus: This is the correct way to wear a face mask

Your mask protects others and their mask protects you.

Target store

Target, CVS to start requiring that shoppers wear masks in stores

The CDC says wearing a mask is "one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus."


Costco will require customers to wear face masks while shopping

The wholesaler had already required masks for employees and instituted occupancy limits.

face mask

Edina makes wearing a mask mandatory to slow spread of COVID-19

State department of health and the CDC recommend wearing face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.