2020 is a year of changes for Costco, apparently. The beloved big-box store made its first food court-related membership changes in February, and now the rules are changing again to cope with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, April 1, Costco announced the membership policy would change to limit the number of people in the warehouse stores at one time. The decision will hopefully help create a safer environment for employees and customers as people around the world try to help curb the increase of coronavirus cases.
Beginning Friday, April 3, each Costco member will only be allowed to bring one additional person inside the store.
Prior to this change, Costco allowed each member to bring two guests as well as children into the stores. The brand’s CEO and president released a letter stating that the company is closely watching the progression of the pandemic and working under the guidelines of public health officials. This should allow the stores to make quick and effective changes as needed.
By limiting the number of people inside Costco warehouses, the move reduces the amount of face-to-face contact both customers and employees have to deal with while they’re inside the building.
This is just the latest change among many Costco has enacted to help protect and provide for people. The chain has also altered store hours and increased sanitation efforts, as staff members attempt to more carefully sanitize shopping cart handles, shelves, registers, and front-end belts for check-out.
You might be wondering what other policy changes Costco has made in recent days. Well, we’ve got you covered.
Like many grocers, Costco has limited the number of certain items that customers can buy. Two of the biggest items that have been limited include toilet paper and hand soap.
Though the message across the country has been one advocating against hoarding or majorly stockpiling items, Costco has taken an added measure to keep individual shoppers from buying out the whole store. In some cases, the big-box store will no longer allow customers to return items that are in very high demand. This includes toilet paper, bottled water, and sanitizing wipes. Paper towels, rice, and Lysol have also made the no-return list in some stores. The company has not announced this as a nationwide change, but Today reports that several individual locations have posted signs on the no-return policy with these items listed.
These changes could be in response to a couple of different reasons surrounding the novel coronavirus. It’s possible that returns could be prohibited for the time being to discourage people from buying more than they need. It’s also possible that Costco is trying to protect its employees from exposing themselves to the virus by handling items shoppers have already taken home and returned.
While Costco has made moves to heavily revamp its sanitary practices at store locations, there are still smart practices customers should use while shopping for supplies, to reduce the chance of getting sick or spreading the disease.
Good Morning America recently interviewed Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University who specializes in contagious viruses, to ask how she shops for groceries. The expert suggests visiting the grocery store as little as often, and no more than once per week. She advises people to go out at times when they believe the store will not be busy, to wipe down the cart handle, and to avoid handling too many items. She is also very careful not to touch her face while shopping.
The segment reported that the pathogen does not appear to survive on cardboard for more than 24 hours or plastic for more than 72 hours, but as experts continue to learn more about this virus, advice regarding best practices for your shopping trips could change.
More than anything, she is concerned about interactions with people in the aisle and the checkout, where the virus is most likely to be caught through respiratory droplets, so she uses self-checkout whenever possible. Just make sure to wash your hands as soon as you can if you do the same. Watch the video to see why Costco Is Making A Big Change To Its Membership Policy!