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Costco Is Finally Bringing Back In-Store Samples in June

You can once again eat your way through the aisles.

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In early March, Costco was forced to pull food samples from store floors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Though the precaution was a necessary step for our own health and safety, that doesn't mean it wasn't disheartening to roam those aisles without a full meal's worth of free snacks to devour along your grocery route. 

Well, worry no more, my hangry friends. The warehouse superstore is bringing back food samples next month, chief financial officer Richard Galanti said in the company's quarterly earnings call Thursday. Specifically, the program is set to return mid-June. 

"We're going to start doing some things in mid-June on a slow rollout basis in sampling," Galanti said. "I can't tell you any more, but needless to say it’s not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers."

Once you've loaded up on samples (the hors d'oeuvres, if you will), you've gotta stop by the food court for the main event: churros, a footlong hot dog, maybe a perfect greasy slice. In May, Costco began reopening its in-store restaurant with a limited menu and to-go only orders so you can fuel up for the formidable grocery shop ahead. Though, the company started with 20% of food courts, the plan is for all to be available -- for pickup at the very least -- by mid-June, as well. 

The membership-only chain has continued to implement new procedures and store policies throughout the pandemic. Beginning May 4, Costco began requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering while shopping while continuing to promote social distancing practices.

"Costco employees are required to wear face coverings, and now we are asking that Costco members do so too," president Craig Jelinek said in an open letter. "We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. This is not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer, but others too." 

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.