Costco gives priority store access to health care workers, first responders in COVID-19 fight

Costco says it is giving priority store access to first responders and health care workers as the company rolls out new initiatives aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. 

“Health care workers and first responders who present a Costco membership card and official identification of their role, will be allowed to move to the front of any line to enter the warehouse,” said the company on their website.Costco’s list of priority customers includes police officers, EMTs and firefighters.

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On April 1, the company announced that it would limit the number of people allowed inside its warehouses at one time, allotting each membership card two slots while also setting hours aside specifically for customers over 60. 

Long lines created by panic buying and hoarding amid COVID-19 shortages have made it difficult for the elderly as well as critical workers to get a hold of high-demand items.

Starting March 24 and effective each Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. until further notice, the warehouse club added special shopping hours for customers ages 60 and up.

In order to curb shortages, Costco said it has also implemented limits on certain items to ensure customers have equal access to the products they’re looking for.

Returns on specific items that have been known to be hoarded have also been prohibited by the company, including:

  • Toilet paper
  • Bottled water
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Rice
  • Disinfecting spray

Many of the items have become highly coveted as consumers rush to stockpile supplies in preparation for lockdowns that have been implemented by local governments in areas across the U.S.