Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Costco has made another major change to its membership policy that puts even more restrictions on shoppers. Earlier this month, the retailer announced that no more than two people will be allowed to enter U.S. warehouses per membership card. In some locations, such as those in Kentucky and Puerto Rico, only one person is allowed inside per membership.
"Costco has temporarily updated our shopping policy," a statement on Costco's website reads. "This 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."
The new policy went into effect on April 3, and was quick to garner backlash. While many understood the reasoning behind the policy, some pointed out the potential impact it would have on single parents, who may have to take their children with them when out grocery shopping. In a Facebook Live video, Ari ElToro, a single mom living in Texas, recounted being turned away at the door.
"They won't let me in Costco with my children… [I'm] aggravated, to say the least," she said before discussing the issue with a manger, according to Cafe Mom. "I don't have anyone to watch my kids. I can't hire a babysitter, because [of] social distancing, I can't have someone come into my house because of social distancing, like I literally can't do anything… This is ridiculous, that I as a single mom am not able to go grocery shopping, nor am I able to get a babysitter."
The limit per membership is just the latest policy Costco has enacted amid the coronavirus pandemic. Along with implementing limits on certain items, the retailer has also shortened its hours to allow stores to be restocked and properly sanitized. Costco has also implemented special operating hours for those 60 and older as well as temporarily allowing priority access to healthcare workers and first responders.
Costco, of course, is far from the only retailer to implement new policies amid the pandemic. At the same time Costco announced the change to its membership cards, Target announced that it would "actively monitor and, when needed, limit the total number of people inside based on the store’s specific square footage." A similar policy has been enacted by Walmart and other retailers to allow both customer and employees to practice social distancing while shopping.