The grocery chain is also limiting sales of beef, pork and poultry, as well as not accepting returns on products like rice and bottled water

By Benjamin VanHoose and Benjamin VanHoose
May 18, 2020 01:12 PM
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Costco is slowly returning its food courts to operation.

Earlier this month, the bulk shopping chain announced updates to it coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, effective May 4, including a partial reintroduction of its famous food courts.

According to Costco's updated measures, the eateries will feature a "limited menu" and orders are only available for takeout. The dine-in seating areas will stay temporarily closed. The company noted that customers should ask food court employees for any necessary condiments.

The food courts will remain closed between 9 and 10 a.m. on weekdays, when the stores are only open to shoppers ages 60 and over and people with disabilities.

As far as changes to its grocery offerings, Costco has put in place limits on certain products that could soon experience shortages due to the pandemic. All beef, poultry and pork are currently limited to three items per member.

Returns will not be accepted for products like rice, bottled water, paper towels, toilet paper and disinfectant spray and wipes.

Credit: Michele Eve Sandberg/Shutterstock

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The Costco food court — admired for its inexpensive menu, from which customers could order a hot dog and a soda for just $1.50, among other specialties — may now require a membership to frequent.

In February, shoppers reported signs in multiple locations that said starting March 16, an active Costco membership card was required to purchase items at the food court. The annual fee for a membership starts at $60.

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Costco also requires that all of its customers and employees wear face coverings at all times while in the store, however, the use of masks "should not be seen as a substitute for social distancing."

"Although some may disagree with this policy or question its effectiveness, we’re choosing to err on the side of safety in our shopping environments," CEO Craig Jelinek wrote in a letter to customers announcing the mask requirement.

"Costco has continued to operate during this crisis as an essential business in all of our communities, and our employees are on the front lines," he continued. "As part of a community, we believe this simple act of safety and courtesy is one that Costco members and employees can undertake together."

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