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Costco Is Limiting the Number of Guests Members Can Bring in Stores

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Just like restaurants and grocery stores, major retailers are racing to adjust to the new realities of social distancing. As of this week, you can still make your weekly Costco runs to stock up on work from home snacks, but the superstore is now restricting the number of guests members can bring along to shop. 

Costco's standard policy, which allows members to bring their kids and two additional guests -- has always been pretty lax and didn't seem to have been overly enforced. But in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company has announced a temporary update to help promote social distancing.

"Effective Friday, April 3, Costco will allow no more than two people to enter the warehouse with each membership card," the the company said in a statement posted online. "This temporary change is for your safety and the safety of our employees and other members, and to further assist with our social distancing efforts. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding."

While many other retailers are reevaluating their policies over coronavirus concerns, Costco's is in part a response to the influx of shoppers its stores have seen in recent weeks.

"As many of you have noticed, we've experienced a surge of business during this time," President and CEO Craig Jelinek said in an open letter to members on the website. "As a result, we've taken steps to control the number of members in our warehouse and asked that members and employees practice social distancing." 

In addition, Costco locations across the United States have also updated store hours, closing doors at 6:30pm and opening exclusively between 8-9am for elderly and at risk shoppers Tuesday through Thursday. There are also restrictions on high demand products, certain returns, and a limited food court menu -- for takeout only. In-store samples are also no longer offered. 

h/tFood & Wine

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.