Costco to cut back on special shopping hours for seniors, limit chicken purchases

The special shopping hours designated for members over 60, as well as those with disabilities, will soon be offered two days a week.
Daily Life In San Francisco
A Costco staff member at a store location in San Francisco uses a loudspeaker to remind people of new social distancing measures. China News Service / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

As more business start reopening across the country, Costco is cutting back on a few measures it implemented earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting July 13, the big-box retailer will reduce its operating hours for seniors, scaling them back to two days a week. In an update posted to its COVID-19 website, Costco announced that the special shopping hours (which also permitted shoppers with disabilities, as well as people with compromised immune systems) will be reduced to Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time. Previously, the shopping hours were held Monday through Friday.

Throughout the pandemic, Costco has taken several measures to help protect its shoppers and employees, including limiting the number of customers able to shop in stores at any given time to increase social distancing and implementing a mask-wearing policy in May.

Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.

Other Costco policies, such as limitations on meat purchases, have been lifted in recent weeks, although Costco has currently placed a limit on fresh poultry purchases (two items per member).

Face coverings are still required for employees and shoppers (except those 2 years old and younger, or for those who cannot wear one due to a medical condition). Costco will continue to provide priority access to health care workers and first responders for the foreseeable future.

Reducing special shopping hours is just one of several policies Costco is adjusting as states begin allowing various businesses to reopen.

In mid-May, Costco lifted a restriction which allowed only two shoppers per membership card to enter the store at a time. Sitting down at food courts is still not permitted, but many have reopened for limited takeaway service. Members also recently celebrated the store's return of free samples, though workers are currently only doling out samples of pre-packaged items for safety reasons.

During the onset of the pandemic, many major food retailers began offering special shopping hours for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals. Walmart began offering a senior shopping hour every Tuesday at the onset of the pandemic and says it will continue to do so indefinitely. Target has set aside special shopping hours for seniors and guests with disabilities on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.