Local man, Michael Trautrimas, expressed his frustrations on social media Sunday morning, after being asked to leave the Kingston Costco warehouse on February 7, 2021, because his autistic son is unable to wear a face covering.
"We just got kicked out of Costco, because my severely autistic, non-verbal son who lost an arm in a car accident, and also lost his little brother several years ago, and his mother... won't wear a mask," Trautrimas said in the video.
"I don't know what to say at this point," he went on. "I'm completely blown away by getting kicked out of Costco because my son, he can't wear a mask. He won't wear one."
A widower who lost his wife and younger son in a motor vehicle collision in 2016, Trautrimas says he felt discriminated against when no other accommodations were suggested by the big box store.
“The short of it all was I was approached by someone who insisted Ayden wear a mask or leave. They then stood in front of the cart trying to prevent us from moving,” Trautrimas told Kingstonist in an email.
Costco’s masking policy is clear, stating individuals over the age of two are expected to wear a face covering while in store. Costco's policy does not allow for medical exemptions. Trautrimas feels this approach is discriminatory to those, like himself, who have few avenues of recourse during the pandemic.
“I don't have many choices but to bring my son to wherever I go, because of funds, and with COVID limiting my choices. I feel it shouldn't be an issue. I want him with me - he's my son, that's it that's all,” he said.
While Costco does offer online shopping with delivery options, items in their online system are not the same as what shoppers will find in store. There is currently no option for curbside pickup at the Kingston warehouse.
Kingstonist reached out to Costco head office for further comment, however they were not available to respond to inquiries.
KFL&A Public Health says a business may be able to consider alternate ways to provide services to those who are exempt from wearing a face covering while following physical distancing and hand hygiene requirements.
A list of frequently asked questions about face coverings can be found on the KFL&A Public Health website.
Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com