Trips to the grocery stores are stressful. From the long lines to get in, to somehow not forgetting an item from your shopping while also dodging bodies and maintaining a 6-foot distance from others, our anxiety just spiked typing it. But, undoubtedly, no one has it harder than the essential workers working those grocery stores, which is why we’ve seen store hours change and fluctuate as the weeks pass in the midst of this global pandemic: as an effort to allow them more time to restock shelves. And among those stores that have been putting the safety and health of their employees and members first is Costco, which recently announced that most of their stores will not only return to regular operating hours, but will also prioritize healthcare workers, first responders, members ages 60 and older, and people with disabilities.
As of May 4, most Costco stores and Costco gas stations have reverted back to normal hours, with the first hour (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.) dedicated to members ages 60 and older, and people with disabilities. The pharmacy will be open during these hours, but the Costco Food Court will be closed. The exceptions to these special operating hours include Culver City, Iwilei, Brooklyn and Puerto Rico, where it’ll take place 8-9 a.m. instead; Massachusetts and Oregon locations, 8:30-9:30 a.m.; and Westbury, NY, 7-9 a.m.
For specific hours, find a Costco warehouse near you.
Costco also began prioritizing healthcare workers and first responders during all open hours as well. Healthcare workers, including pharmacists and all hospital employees with a hospital ID, and first responders can head to the front of the line, present their Costco membership card and official ID of their role, and enter the warehouse.
And so far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Huge shoutout to @Costco for how they’re handling #COVID19. My husband went this morning + was in line but saw people walking in. He asked what was going on – it was still the hour for first responders, elderly + medically fragile to shop. He’s the only one in our 🏠 going out.
— alexia_sophia (@alexia_sophia) May 7, 2020
May 4 was also the start of Costco’s face covering mandate, requiring all members and guests to wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times while shopping at Costco. The requirement does not, however, apply to children under the age of 2 nor to individuals unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition. And, of course, the face covering is not a substitute for social distancing, either.
You may have lost one customer, but you gained an entire family here for life & everyone at LAC-USC thanks you. FIRST RESPONDERS APPRECIATE YOUR STAND!!! GREAT JOB COSTCO!!!
— Erik Bautista (@egb90065) May 7, 2020
Leading up to Costco readjusting its store hours, the wholesale retailer reported a drop in sales in April — the first monthly sales fall since July 2009. According to Costco’s monthly sales report, net sales were down 1.8 percent in April compared to last year. Costco attributes this decline in sales to “decreased traffic” as a result of social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders. This slow-down in foot traffic — due to the surge in panic buying at the end of February through early March — could mean we’ll return to a more “normal” level of buying.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below:
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