Costco Wholesale Club will continue to offer special operating hours for members 60 and older and vulnerable shoppers every weekday morning.
The retailer previously announced plans to reduce its senior hours to twice a week effective the week of July 13 but said on its coronavirus updates page that "due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, Costco will maintain current Special Operating Hours until further notice." The coronavirus causes the disease COVID-19.
At most clubs, the designated hour for senior shoppers, members with disabilities or immunocompromised is 9 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. The Costco website lists the clubs with different hours. (See exceptions below.)
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Costco started offering special hours March 24 as a twice-weekly event and quickly extended to three times a week. When clubs resumed normal hours in early May, clubs extended the hours to weekday mornings.
At the same time hours returned to normal, Costco required shoppers to wear masks. The move, which excludes children under 2, sparked outrage on social media with some threatening to not renew their memberships. And there have been several viral videos of shoppers not following the mask policy.
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"There are a few people who don't like it, but most people do," Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti said in late May about the mask requirement.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery stores and essential retailers started dedicating time or opening earlier for senior shoppers and other at-risk groups. As stores that were temporarily closed have reopened, some also have set aside time for vulnerable customers.
Costco has made several changes because of the pandemic including suspending returns of select items and discontinuing its popular half-sheet cakes in May.
In June, Costco started bringing back free samples to a small number of its 548 U.S. locations, months after suspending sampling. Samples are now prepackaged items and kept behind plexiglass shields.
The designated hour for senior shoppers, members with disabilities or immunocompromised is 9 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday at most clubs.
The following clubs are the exceptions listed at www.costco.com:
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Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
Nathan Justice manages community outreach programs and forums that help many senior citizens. He completed a counseling program at the University of Maryland’s Department of Psychology.