Costco's Free Samples & Food Courts Will Be Back Everywhere by the End of June

The rollout will begin this week at select club locations.

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In April, we finally received word that Costco was planning to gradually bring back its free samples and re-open its food courts. However, the news came with a disclaimer by Costco CFO and EVP Richard Galanti, who said the process would "take some time."

Now, the retail giant has an official rollout plan in place. 

Full sampling will return in phases but expected everywhere by the end of June. Around 170 of Costco's 550 US locations will welcome back full sampling—which was available previously, but in a limited, pre-packaged capacity only—this week, with the rest following suit by the end of the month. 

"Increased safety protocols are and will be in place, including all samples prepared behind plexiglass, prepared in smaller batches for better safety control, and distributed to members one at a time," Galanti said during a third-quarter earnings call, according to USA Today.
 

Costco's food courts have been serving a scaled-back menu for takeout only, but will now bring back seating (at half capacity) as well as its full menu. Tables will maintain physical distance, and seat no more than four shoppers. Costco is even adding new items to menus, including "new and improved churros" and ice cream, per USA Today.

Back in May, Costco dropped its mask requirement for fully vaccinated shoppers. 

"In Costco locations where the state or local jurisdiction does not have a mask mandate, we will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield," CEO Craig Jelinek wrote in a letter to members May 14. 

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.