For those who like to buy in bulk, your local Costco warehouse is the place to be. Known for its fair pricing and free samples, this wholesaler has long been a family favorite. While you are required to have a membership to shop—which will run you about $60 for the year—you can find a variety of items, including, food, clothes, appliances, and even gas for your car. But many customers may be unhappy to learn that Costco just announced it will be ending a popular policy on April 18. Read on to learn what you will no longer be able to do as of Monday.
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During the pandemic, many stores offered at-risk shoppers and frontline workers the ability to shop exclusively during designated hours. With the store to themselves, often toward the start of the day, these shoppers were able to browse safely by lowering potential COVID exposure.
Costco was one of the establishments that took extra precautions, but the company just announced that as of April 18, it will no longer be offering these designated hours for members aged 60 or older, healthcare workers (including pharmacists and hospital employees), or first responders (police officers, EMTs, and firefighters).
That means you only have one day left this week left to take advantage of these Special Operating Hours—commonly referred to as “senior hours,” which are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, generally between 9 am and 10 am, with a few exceptions.
Costco had been offering this advantage to certain members for over two years, starting in March 2020, USA Today reported. When they were first announced via a Facebook post on March 24, the special hours were set from 8 am to 9 am Tuesdays through Thursdays. In May 2020, when normal operating hours were reinstated, Costco warehouses bumped the designated time back an hour, from 9 am to 10 am, but upped the policy to include every weekday.
Costco members with disabilities and those who are immunocompromised were also invited to take advantage and shop with lower risk during the pandemic. This was in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding vulnerable populations.
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In summer 2021, Costco had planned to get rid of “senior hours” entirely on July 26. However, as we all know, COVID is unpredictable. When cases spiked, the wholesaler retracted and decided to limit the special operating hours to twice a week, AARP reported.
“Instead of discontinuing, we’ll maintain hours for seniors Tuesdays and Thursdays, until further notice,” Richard GalantiCostco’s chief financial officer, told USA Today at the time.
If you’ve been taking advantage of these hours, make sure you pay a visit to your local Costco tomorrow. Most locations hold their hours between 9 am and 10 am, but certain locations, including Culver City, California; Iwilei (Honolulu), Hawaii; and Brooklyn and Westbury, New York, still hold their special hours from 8 am to 9 am
If you are worried about in-store shopping, Costco recommends visiting their website. “Members who do not wish to shop during regular hours are welcome to visit Costco.com for all their shopping needs,” the company said on its COVID-19 updates page.
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