Costco Just Made A Big Announcement About Its COVID Protocols

Throughout the pandemic, people did whatever they could to show support for essential workers and immunocompromised groups. Many companies, like Costco, changed their hours, required masks, and encouraged social distancing in an effort to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. Now that local health departments and the CDC are changing COVID safety guidelines, Costco will update its in-store regulations for members.

Throughout the pandemic, Costco implemented special operating hours for members in the 60 plus age range, first responders, and healthcare workers that will remain in place until April 17, 2022. Special operating hours from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. apply to warehouses in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and special hours for stores in Brooklyn, New York, Culver City, California, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Westbury, New York are from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

In a Facebook post, Costco explained that these special hours were put in place to provide a socially distanced, less busy shopping experience for members who needed it most. The company wrote, "This improved social distancing, which many people appreciated, but it added cost and complexity to our business."

Costco ends certain precautions

Despite following guidelines set forth by the CDC and local health authorities, Costco just couldn't get a break from members irritated by its in-store masking rules, according to Today. After two years of shifting mandates and recommendations, the bulk wholesaler has announced an end date to its special operating hours. In addition to doing away with the exclusive shopping hours for those over 60, healthcare workers, and first responders, mask mandates now depend on local and state jurisdictions.

In a Facebook post, Costco wrote, "As most cities, states, and counties have lifted their restrictions, we will move back to our regular shopping hours, except where required by local regulations." 

The wholesale chain hopes to safely move past guidelines that complicated its ability to be a "low-cost operator" and continue to offer affordable goods to its customers. Members are encouraged to shop online if they don't feel comfortable shopping in the stores during regular hours, and check with their local Costco for updates or with questions.