As the confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to climb, surpassing 245,000 by Friday morning, a number of retailers are making efforts to flatten the curve by enforcing social distancing. Earlier this week, both Target and Costco announced that it would be implementing new measures to protect employees and customers by limiting the number of shoppers allowed in its stores at a time.
"Effective Friday, April 3, Costco will allow no more than two people to enter the warehouse with each membership card," a statement to Costco's website reads, the retailer having already altered its hours and increased sanitization in its stores. "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."
On Thursday, Target announced a similar measure, revealing that effective April 4, all stores will actively monitor and when needed, limit customers to promote social distancing.
"It's important that our guests have enough space to shop safely and comfortably. So beginning April 4, Target will actively monitor and, when needed, limit the total number of people inside based on the store’s specific square footage," a statement read. "If metering is needed, a team member will help guests into a designated waiting area outside with social distancing markers, while others will guide guests inside the store and keep things moving quickly and conveniently. It’s another step to encourage social distancing, on top of the signage, floor decals and audio messages already in place at our stores."
Target also announced that it will "begin providing all team members in our stores and distribution centers with high-quality, disposable face masks and gloves at the beginning of every shift" and will "strongly encourage" employees to wear them while working. Masks and gloves will also be provided to Shipt shoppers as the enter the store.
Considered essential businesses, both Target and Costco are one of a handful of businesses allowed to remain open as states across the country mandate shelter-in-place orders. With recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to remain at least six feet apart, concerns have been raised over the health and safety of both worker and shoppers in such businesses, leading many to implement various safety measures, including increased sanitization and senior-specific shopping hours.