A woman attempting to return an item at Costco staged an apparent sit-in after refusing to put on a face mask amid a coronavirus case surge.
According to TOWLEROAD, several videos detailing the incident were posted to Twitter. In one video, a Costco employee explains to the woman, whose mask is hanging around her ear, that she needs to wear it in order to be in the building.
The woman—dubbed “Costco Karen”—admits that she doesn’t have a medical condition that would prevent her from wearing a mask. (If customers can’t wear a mask due to a disability, stores are supposed to find alternative methods of service so customers can get what they need while keeping others safe.)
“I just need you to put that on for now while you’re in the building. That’s all,” the employee explains to her. “Just temporarily while you’re in here, and then you can take it right back off.”
“You need to have it on while you’re doing your transaction,” the employee later says.
“I will not,” the woman tells the employee, adding that the mask requirement is “your problem.”
“Well then, come back at another time,” the employee responds.
After the employee tries to escort the woman outside to speak to a manager, “Costco Karen” sits down on the floor near the front of the store—partially blocking the exit.
“Can I get you a chair? Outside? There’s a place to sit,” the employee says.
“Costco Karen” later moves to another location in front of a kiosk.
“I am an American,” she says. “I have constitutional rights.”
Amid a new surge in coronavirus cases, several states have ordered people to wear masks in most indoor spaces when social distancing isn’t possible. There are often exceptions for people under a certain age or those with medical conditions that affect mask use.
Costco hasn’t publicly responded to the incident.