Costco reverses course and will keep reduced senior hours as COVID-19 cases increase nationwide
Retailers drop mask mandates after new CDC guidanceA day after the CDC issued new masking guidelines, retailers started announcing changes to mask policies for fully vaccinated customers.USA TODAY, WochitCostco Wholesale will continue to hold special operating hours for members 60 and older and vulnerable shoppers while the coronavirus pandemic continues.Weeks after announcing it would end the senior hours on July 26, the retailer changed course and is instead reducing them from five days a week to twice-weekly events.”Instead of discontinuing, we’ll maintain hours for seniors Tuesdays and Thursdays, until further notice,” Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer, told USA TODAY Monday.Starting the week of July 26, the reserved shopping time at most clubs for senior shoppers, members with disabilities or immunocompromised will be 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, the retailer posted on its COVID-19 updates page.► Save better, spend better: Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here► Diversity of America’s food retail executives: Coke, Costco, Pepsi and Starbucks officials still mostly white and maleThe update comes as the number of new coronavirus infections is rising in all 50 states and hospitalizations nationwide are increasing at an alarming rate, according to Johns Hopkins University data released Sunday.New infections rose in all 50 states Saturday, the third consecutive day, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. And more than 25,000 U.S. patients who likely had COVID-19 were in hospitals Saturday, up 24.1% from a week earlier. Like most of the nation’s major grocery stores, Costco started designating special shopping hours in March 2020 to help those the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considered most vulnerable and at-risk for COVID-19. Costco started its senior hours as a twice-weekly event and quickly extended to three times a week. When clubs resumed normal hours in early May 2020, clubs extended the senior hours to weekday mornings at most locations.Last summer, Costco originally announced plans to reduce the special hours to twice per week in July 2020 but didn’t cut the hours as cases spiked. Instead, Costco said at the time the hours would continue indefinitely.Walmart, Target, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Aldi are among retailers still promoting special senior hours on their websites. Hours and criteria vary by location. Trader Joe’s has cut senior hours at most of its stores.► Target teacher discount 2021: Target’s discount is here along with savings for educators at Dollar General, Staples► Free school supplies: Cashback app Ibotta giving away free school supplies for back to school at Walmart, Target and moreCostco senior hours and exceptionsCostco’s designated hour for senior shoppers, members with disabilities, or people who are immunocompromised is 9 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday at most clubs. That’s scheduled to change effective July 26 to twice a week, which will be Tuesday and Thursday.Find all locations’ hours at Costco.com/warehouse-locations. Members and guests who don’t meet the criteria will not be admitted. The following clubs are the exceptions listed on the COVID-19 updates page:California Costco clubs with exceptionsCulver City: Special operating hours are 8 to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday until July 26.Los Angeles area: Los Feliz, Northridge, Pacoima, Van Nuys and Woodland Hills clubs’ special hours are from 9 to 10 a.m., Sunday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays until July 26.Richmond: Special operating hours are from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Monday through Friday until July 26.New exception for Culver City, starting July 26: Special operating hours will be 8 to 9 a.m., Tuesday and Thursday.Hawaii Costco club with an exceptionIwilei (Honolulu): Special operating hours are from 8 to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday until July 26.New exception for Iwilei (Honolulu): Special operating hours will be 8 to 9 a.m., Tuesday and ThursdayContributing: Jordan Culver and John Bacon, USA TODAY► Sunscreen recall 2021: J&J recalling select Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen due to presence of benzene► Justice is back: Walmart adding Justice tween brand to 2,400 stores, Walmart.com in time for back-to-school shoppingFollow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko. For more shopping tips and deals, join us on our Shopping Ninjas Facebook group.