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Costco Drops COVID-19 Senior Shopping Hours

Warehouse club ends special time slots for shoppers 60 and older

Costco is retaining senior shopping hours due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.
Johnny Louis / Getty Images

 

Bulk retailer Costco Wholesale has stopped offering special hours two days a week when only older people and others at heightened risk from coronavirus infections were permitted to shop.

​​Previously, only club members 60 and older, people with disabilities, and immunocompromised shoppers were permitted to shop during the hour-long time slot on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, Costco members who worked in health care or as first responders could shop during those hours with proper identification.

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Costco has 573 locations in 46 U.S. states and Puerto Rico

The change in the retailer’s policy, effective April 18, comes as the average number of new infections is up 19.1 percent from the previous seven-day average, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.​

Members who do not want to shop during regular hours are encouraged to visit Costco.com for their shopping needs, the company said. More information on specific warehouse hours may be found here.

​Special shopping hours at supermarkets, instituted by many chains soon after the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 and long before vaccines became available, were designed to limit coronavirus exposure for older customers as well as for those with underlying health conditions, who are more susceptible to serious cases of COVID-19. But with the wide availability of vaccines, many retailers reduced or eliminated special shopping hours and eased or eliminated face mask requirements.​

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​Supermarkets with senior shopping hours​

Although many grocery stores across the U.S. have ended special hours for older shoppers, some chains continue to offer the option for those over a certain age and for others who are at greater risk from COVID-19.​​

BJ’s Wholesale: Most stores offer a designated hour for those 60 and older, Monday to Saturday, from 8 to 9 a.m. First responders have a dedicated shopping hour on Sundays, from 8 to 9 a.m. Use the Club Locator to see if your location participates.​​​

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Dollar General: The first hour of operations is dedicated to senior customers. Although an exact age was not specified, the company said the period is for shoppers most vulnerable to COVID-19. Store hours vary.​

Food City: The first hour of operation, from 7 to 8 a.m., is for customers 65 and older and for those with underlying health conditions. Its pharmacies open at 7 a.m. on Mondays to allow vulnerable customers to pick up their prescriptions with limited exposure to others.​​​

Harris Teeter: Mondays and Thursdays, from 6 to 8 a.m., are reserved for shoppers age 60 and older. ExpressLane Online Shopping pickup times are reserved for older adults from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays. The pickup fee is waived, and seniors can opt for delivery for $5. The 5 percent senior club discount applies on Thursdays.​​

Lowe’s Food: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 7 to 8 a.m., are dedicated to older adults and those who are immunocompromised.​​

Price Chopper: Most stores are open to seniors and the immunocompromised from 6 to 7 a.m. each day.

​​​​Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.

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