The Real Reason Costco Keeps Changing Its Hours

Recently, wholesale grocery chain Costco reversed its previously-announced decision to reduce their special operating hours down from five days per week to two, as reported by USA Today. The reduction of hours was planned as part of their official reopening steps and was supposed to go into effect on July 13th, but has been officially put on hold in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases across the United States. The outlet states that (at most locations) the special operating hours in place are currently Monday through Friday from 9 to 10 am, and reserved exclusively for members 60 years of age and older, the immunocompromised, and those with disabilities. Shoppers are not permitted to bring any guests with them during these hours.

USA Today says that the special operating hours were originally offered twice a week, beginning on March 24th, 2020, and were quickly extended to three days and then five, as Costco locations resumed their normal hours in May.

The changing hours of operation are not the only new policies in place

Costco has made a series of changes in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which can be found listed on the COVID Updates page on the Costco website. In addition to the special operating hours for seniors and the health compromised, Costco is continuing its temporary policy of offering priority access to healthcare workers and first responders, allowing them to jump to the head of the line with a work ID.

Other policies in place include mandatory face coverings at all times when inside Costco locations for any person over the age of two (shoppers with medical conditions preventing them from wearing a mask are exempt from this policy), restrictions on returns, requiring customers to pack their own reusable bags, social distancing of at least 6 feet, and limited menus at the Costco food court for take-out only.

At the time of publication, the United States has over 3.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data provided by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University.