Coronavirus spread halted free snacks

Costco to require all members wear face masks starting Monday

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It was not immediately known if Costco has pulled samples from all stores in the U.S. or only in select areas or when the suspension would end.

Wochit

Costco plans to start bringing back its legendary free samples next month with some changes.

The retailer suspended its popular samples in its wholesale clubs in early March over safety concerns with the spread of the coronavirus. Consumers mourned the smorgasbord of free snacks on social media, which was one of the first programs to be cut as the threat of COVID-19 grew.

But during Costco’s quarterly earnings call Thursday, officials said they were targeting a mid-June return of the freebies.

“We’re going to start doing some things in mid-June on a slow rollout basis in sampling,” Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti said. “I can’t tell you anymore, but needless to say it’s not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers.”

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Costco stores are going back to normal hours but you’ll notice some big changes.

USA TODAY

Galanti said samples of food and non-food items are popular along with Costco roadshow special events.

“I think you’ll see a little bit more excitement on the roadshow side,” Galanti said calling the samples and events “things that we can do to get people excited about coming in.”

More menu options also are returning to Costco food courts.

“We’ve added some, but not all the items back as of now,” Galanti said.

Costco has made several changes at stores in recent months because of the pandemic, including cutting hours and dedicating time for seniors to shop and giving first responders and health care workers priority access.

Stores returned to regular hours May 4 with a new requirement: Masks for shoppers. The move, which excludes children under 2, sparked outrage among on social media with some threatening to not renew their memberships.

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A customer at a Costco in Colorado filmed an employee asking him to leave for not wearing a mask.

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Last week, a video at a Costco in Arvada, Colorado, went viral after a Costco employee with a badge name “Tison” asked a shopper who refused to wear a face covering to leave.

“There are a few people who don’t like it but most people do,” Galenti said Thursday about the mask requirement.

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Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2020/05/28/coronavirus-costco-free-samples-returning-covid-19/5279542002/



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