Costco Just Announced It's Extending This COVID Policy

Safety measures are to be kept in place until further notice.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the retail experience is changing in multiple ways, from the growth of home delivery services to new safety protocols in stores. The latest development on this front comes from Costco, with its announcement that it will be continuing its policy of having special operating hours for members who are 60 and older, along with vulnerable shoppers. Read on for more on the store's policy, and for another big box update, check out Walmart Is Doing This Again as COVID Surges.

Costco first introduced a designated hour for certain shoppers on Mar. 24, at the very start of the pandemic. Originally, this ran from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. two days per week, before being extended to three days per week. When normal opening hours resumed across all locations in early May, select Costco stores kept this "senior hour" in place from Monday to Friday.

The original plan was to phase this policy out in July, but spiking numbers of new COVID-19 cases led to it being extended. In its latest announcement, the company said that "due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, Costco will maintain current Special Operating Hours until further notice."

These shopping hours are only for those aged 60 and above, shopper with disabilities, and shoppers who are immunocompromised. Guests are not permitted to enter the store with the shopper.

In some Costco locations, the special hour for vulnerable shoppers will run from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., with a few Costco stores—like Massachusetts, Oregon, and certain Bay Area locations—running theirs from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. A full list of opening times can be found here on Costco's website. Read on for more changes at Costco, and for another store trying to keep shoppers safe, check out Walmart Just Said They're Reinstating This COVID Safety Measure.

Read the original article on Best Life.

Healthcare workers and first responders are also given priority at Costco.

A healthcare worker wearing scrubs and a face mask leaves a grocery store amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharkshock / Shutterstock

Additionally, Costco is giving priority access at all times in its stores to healthcare workers and first responders, including police officers, EMTs, and firefighters.

"Healthcare workers (which includes pharmacists and all hospital employees with a hospital ID) and first responders who present a Costco membership card and official identification of their role, will be allowed to move to the front of any line to enter the warehouse," the guidelines read. And for more on the latest regarding retail's shift, check out Walmart Is Getting Rid of This Starting Friday.

One state won't allow frontline workers during the special shopping hours.

massachusetts state welcome sign, iconic state photos
Shutterstock

But one state won't allow frontline workers to shop while seniors are in store, likely because they are more frequently exposed to the virus and therefore more prone to catching it.

"The Massachusetts Boards of Health have instructed all Massachusetts locations that healthcare workers and first responders are not allowed to enter during Senior Shopping Hours," Costco's website reads. And for more on what's going on in Massachusetts, check out The White House Just Told This State to "Roll Back."

There's also a new mask policy at Costco.

A wearing a black latex glove holds a face mask while pushing on a shopping cart
iStock

As of mid-November, Costco has also updated its mask policy, removing all exemptions and stressing that all members and guests must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose at all times, or if medically incapable of doing so, a face shield. Children under the age of 2 are exempt.

"The use of a face covering should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing," Costco's website reads. "Please continue to observe rules regarding appropriate distancing while on Costco premises." And for more on what mask you shouldn't wear, check out This Type of Face Mask Isn't Protecting You From COVID, WHO Warns.

There are now limitations on certain items at Costco.

kirkland toilet paper stacks at costco
melissamn / Shutterstock

As coronavirus numbers continue to surge and the panic buying sets in, Costco is also implementing product limitations on certain items, and allowing members to use their own reusable shopping bags as long as they pack them themselves. And for more on shopping maxes at a store near you, check out These 4 Stores Are Limiting How Much Toilet Paper You Can Buy Again.

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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