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Wearing masks in store

So my husband and I spent a lot of money in REI last year, bought 2 very expensive e-bikes. We had a bonus to spend from our membership and went to buy stuff over a month after our Governor ended the mask mandate. I was immediately accosted by the manager. He was nice and I explained that I have a medical condition and am not allowed to wear masks. He told me to shop online, so I explained I need to try things on. He told me someone will help and I asked him to please send out everything in my size to my motor home in the parking lot. He said he could not and I would have to wear the mask or leave. 

We are in Texas, the land of the free, or used to be until liberal companies moved here. Masks are deadly - they cause all sorts of problems including bacterial pneumonia, which is why I can’t wear them. The law allows for accommodations, but REI’s position is we are private and then stick out their tongues. He refused to make any accommodation for me except shop online, which is not an option for me. I want to see the available stock. 

Why is there no conversation? Why does a liberal store have to jump to tyranny? That is what it is, forcing masks when the law allows no mask. So here is my conversation. I have been an RN for almost 50 years and I know how to keep people safe. I am not sick. Covid is not a dangerous illness, no worse than a cold. I will never spend another penny in your stores and will tell everyone I know that you are bullies, albeit polite bullies. Thank you for nothing, tyrants. Never again!

14 Replies

@Nancycat we have taken a number of precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities in response to COVID-19. This includes, among other things, requiring our employees, as well as all customers older than age 2, to wear face coverings while at REI stores.

If a customer is unable or unwilling to wear a face covering for health or other personal reasons, we have alternate methods of providing services, including curbside service, shopping on and choosing home delivery, virtual outfitting, and/or calling our Sales and Customer Support team. These options provide reasonable accommodations for customers with disabilities and meet the requirements of the ADA. While you may not agree with our approach, it is one that we believe meets the needs of our customers and employees while also complying with our legal obligations. Our store teams have been instructed to not permit entry to any customer who is unwilling or unable to wear a face covering or face shield.

We will continue to monitor and follow CDC guidelines, and you can review our health and safety standards to learn more. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Content removed by moderator, Covid-19, has a nearly 100% survival rate. That is a FACT. The governor here lifted the asinine mask requirement, yet you are continuing to require your customers to wear a mask or go elsewhere.

You are peddling a pandemic of fear as sycophants to those who wish to dehumanize mankind with their agenda. Your excuses are lame and transparent.

I find it disgusting how you jump right in with an agenda that would destroy the very country and system that has given you billions in profit while spitting on the faces of your customers. You should be ashamed of yourselves, if you even knew what that word means.

I've already purchased several items from REI, including Gregory backpacks, down sleeping bags, a Big Agnes tent, river sandals, and on and on. Whenever I travel I've always made it a point to visit an REI. I was in the market for a flotation vest for my wife and I and our dog, new paddles for our canoe, maybe a set of kayaks and/or sup boards, more camping gear, etc.

But, since you say "Wear a mask or go elsewhere, I will go elsewhere.

  • Well stated, I couldn’t have said it better myself. They are so hypocritical that they can do curbside delivery when they’re taking your money but they are “unable” (unwilling) to do curbside returns. I’m with you - I will mail back (at my own expense, which in my opinion is not right) what will be my final purchase from REI. I can purchase anything I need elsewhere, hopefully from a more patriotic company that upholds the values this country was founded on. REI is too foolish to realize it’s the side that WORKS that has the disposable income for their products. 

The individual store mandates on occupancy are complete virtue signaling at this juncture in the end of the Covid pandemic. As reported cases are at an all-time low, REI has upped their draconian occupancy rules in another attempt to virtue signal. Sorry victim-focused folks.. this pandemic is on the wane, you will have too find something else to find self-pity in. Yesterday, when my bicycle tire blew out on the way to work, I attempted to get it repaired at the NYC store. There was an employee Covid-Cop at the door and a long line to get in.. I asked the "bouncer" if I could just drop my bike off at the shop and be on my way (this was the 3rd failed repair of same issue at the shop btw) and he told me in a snarky tone " sure just get to the end of the line"  unfortunately, I didn't have an hour before work to wait in a line that existed simply for posturing.. so it was a long walk to work. It is another example of common sense vs. pointless virtue-signaling at the expense of the public. 

@t30746 - We have taken a number of precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities in response to COVID-19. This includes, among other things, reduced maximum occupancy levels within our stores. This can unfortunately lead to increased wait times, like what you experienced recently at our New York City store.

While you may not agree with our approach, it is one that we believe meets the needs of our customers and employees while also complying with our legal obligations. We will continue to monitor and follow CDC guidelines and keep our customers informed about any updates to our in-store procedures as they are released. You can review our health and safety standards to learn more.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Yup, had that happen to me as well in REI. What are these small people going to do when restrictions are lifted and they take away their “mask police” badges? When you walk into REI Soho you get this vibe from employees that they are trying to save you and other customers from the bubonic plague.. It’s straight corporate virtue-signaling being carried out out by minions who have never before had a taste of any sort of authority. It’s funny.. the so called “CDC Guidelines” and NYS Health law allow me to be in a restaurant maskless, eating 2-3 feet from  30 other customers, but in REI I have to wait in line to get in to shop.. but doesn’t that line outside the store look great to show the passers by how woke and health - conscious REI is? 

Thank you REI for taking precautions based on CDC recommendations and SCIENCE.


On May 13, 2021, the CDC updated its guidance, allowing fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks and social distancing in most circumstances. As of May 19, 2021, we have modified our policy.

If permitted by local authorities, fully vaccinated customers and employees -- having received their final shot at least two weeks prior -- are no longer required to wear face coverings in REI facilities. All those over the age of 2 (or as specified by local authorities) who have not yet been vaccinated must continue to wear CDC-approved face coverings while in REI locations, and we fully support those who choose to wear masks even if they are fully vaccinated. We will not be asking our customers or employees to provide proof of vaccination, as we are trusting our community to be respectful of our desire to create a safe environment for all.

You can review our health and safety standards for additional information on social distancing, cleaning procedures and health screenings.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Same thing happened to me in a los Angeles store. They called the police on me, in fact. I needed to try on shoes. They told me to go online. I'm not going to buy 5 pairs of shoes in varying sizes to see which one is the right size. That's absolutely ridiculous. 

I touched one shoe on display and I'll never forget the store manager said she was going to have to "Quarantine and disinfect the shoe for 24 hours." Meaning she thought I was a disease. 

This location was looted in mass last year and I showed them the video as they were harrassing me in the store. I told them they didn't call the police when millions of dollars in merch was stolen but you're code red when I walk in without a mask?