Costco Updates Membership Policy to Limit Number of In-Store Shoppers During Coronavirus Crisis

Ella Chochrek

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Costco is making a change to its membership policy as a public safety measure amid the coronavirus crisis.

The big box chain, which sells clothing and footwear in addition to groceries and household necessities, said it will allow no more than two people to enter the store per membership card beginning April 3. Previously, members could bring up to two guests with them, in addition to their children.

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“This temporary change is for your safety and the safety of our employees and other members, and to further assist with our social distancing efforts. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding,” the company wrote on its site.

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, about 87% of Americans are living under stay-at-home orders, with states and localities across the country ordering the closure of all nonessential businesses.

As a purveyor of essentials including groceries and other household products, Costco is staying open, but the company has beefed up its sanitization of often-touched surfaces, such as shopping carts and merchandise shelves. It has also limited the number of certain high-demand items customers can purchase. Additionally, the warehouse has temporarily suspended returns on some items and has stopped offering food samples.

With panicked shoppers stocking up on household essentials, Costco has seen increased business. Target and Walmart have also experienced heightened sales, along with e-tail behemoth Amazon. To keep up with this demand, Costco is hiring thousands of additional workers. Walmart is hiring 150,000 new employees to handle the surge, while Amazon is seeking 100,000 people to fill roles in warehouses and as delivery drivers.

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