Costco Now Giving Priority Access to Health Care Workers and First Responders

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More Coronavirus Updates

Exterior of Costco warehouse

There’s a new policy coming to Costco!

Like many retailers, Costco has been making some adjustments to its policies in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The warehouse club has suspended its popular food samples, prohibited the return of certain items, made special accommodations for shoppers ages 60 and older, and started allowing no more than two people to enter the warehouse for each membership card.

Costco just announced yet another change that will temporarily allow priority access to its warehouses for Costco members who are healthcare workers and first responders such as police officers, EMTs, and firefighters. Healthcare workers and first responders who show a Costco membership card and official ID showing their professional role will be allowed to move to the front of the line to enter the warehouse.

This new policy was announced on the Costco Facebook page along with an update that was shared on the company’s Coronavirus Response Page. Although this change is temporary, there has been no end date set and it is expected to continue for as long as social distancing recommendations are in place.

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Comments 80

  1. Linds

    Thank you Costco for doing your part! I have been lucky enough to be able to leave my kids at home when I go, so it’s only me doing the grocery shopping. I think this is a great idea. Let’s slow the spread.

  2. Lyss

    How is this going to work? People will just line up outside, defeating the social distancing purpose….

    • shop4mybabies

      people already do line up outside. our costco has about 5 security guards and a police officer. everyone did a good job staying 6 feet apart in line. after about 150 people come out they let about 45 more of us in so never more than a couple hundred in the huge store.

      • Deb

        They were doing fifty in fifty out at my Costco. It was a wonderful shopping time. Lol. I wish they’d keep it forever.

    • Amber

      I love your ‘name’! And I agree. Protect the vulnerable but do not stop living. The fallout in terms of depression/suicide due to isolation and/or lack of work, increase in overdoses, and deaths due to other factors that are being put on the back burner due to the response to this is going to be bad.

    • Whitney

      The focus is that 20% need to be hospitalized, many of those need ventilators. There are only so many nurses and doctors, so many hospital beds. Yes, most of us will probably get it, but it can’t be all at once. That’s when you get situations where some will get life saving treatment and equipment, while others won’t.

    • annie

      You simply wait in line 6 feet apart ☺ We are so lucky to live in a country where we even have the availablity to get food and supplies. If you’ve traveled to other countries you know how fortunate we are, even right now.

    • Lily

      Please don’t spread such irresponsible opinions! The point of isolation is in part to flatten the curve so that our healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed to the point of having to ration care. My mother works in one of the largest hospital systems in our state and they are already expected to reach capacity by this weekend! We’re not even close to flattening the curve and we already have to ration protective equipment and recruit healthcare workers to do work they’re not experienced in just to keep up with the current need. So many healthcare workers and other essential personnel are risking their lives to save people from potentially dying due to COVID-19 and other illnesses. Please just do your part to help and stay home.

  3. Lyss

    Never mind I read this wrong, my bad!

  4. cpnkay

    This is a great idea and all, but unfortunately there are a lot of people that have to take their kids. Single parents, parents that are still going to work so kids are at home with one parent (stores closed when other parent is home), you can’t get everything on instacart either because a lot of things aren’t listed online to purchase, so don’t assume delivery is an option. Hopefully they are able to make this a bit of a case by case thing. I don’t know. I get the good intentions, but one size doesn’t fit all with this.

    • Ana

      Honestly, I think that if they allow one child with a parent there’s the two people but they shouldn’t let people bring multiple kids in with them. On a good day, there’s kids running all over in the stores. It’s really the last thing any of us need to deal with now. Hopefully if you can’t leave your kids home there’s some way you can have someone shop for you.

      • peretz12

        Yeah this won’t work for me. I’m a single parent of two toddlers.. so it’s not like I can leave them at home. But I can at least make mine sit in the cart. I’ll have to see if my local Costco is following this..

    • MJ

      I always have to take my kids with me, Since they are out of school now! If my 3 year old sits in the cart and isn’t walking around, can my 8 year old just be the “second” person? I agree when I was at Costco 2 or so weeks ago I saw PACKS of families, 3 teenagers or more sometimes, grandparents you name it, it was an outing for sure. Was very hard to do social distancing with that many people around one cart in the store. So I get it, I just might be screwed though…

  5. km530

    Glad Costco is doing this! I went this weekend and could not believe the families in there shopping together. Mom, dad, and two kids. Mom, dad, and infant. Senior citizens shopping together. What is so hard about only ONE person going to do all the essential shopping???!!! It’s not an outing. Why risk exposing multiple people in your family unit?!

    • anna

      So as a single mom, what would to suggest I do with my two kids when I need something at costco that can’t be delivered??

      • Lori

        Exactly anna. I think there should be exceptions in cases like you mentioned.

        • Mae

          The general consumer public hates single Parents. I guess stores they expect us to pay a babysitter $40 for two hours or less to spend $30 in grocery when we are making 9 dollars a hour plus paying to live. What do single parents do during the pandemic? Unfortunately sometimes there is no other parent. Widows and widowers. Unfortunately no one is thinking of those who need the most help. We are in end times.

          • Selah

            You do realize the OP gave 3 examples and none were of single parents? The general consumer public does not hate single parents. They fall in the minority. It makes more sense to focus on the majority then to cater to the minority.

            • Demi

              Agree, not sure they are so much of a minority anymore though. So much divorce. But nobody hates single moms, if anything the public tries to help them. Hopefully in the future people can see the value in a mom and a dad when raising children.

              • Kate

                I agree, that’s opening a whole other can of worms though. I’m hoping this whole situation gives people the initiative to be proactive instead of reactive. And that goes in many categories – health, financial, choosing spouses, education, work choices, etc.

                • Demi

                  Exactly! 😊

                  • Mae

                    A unexpected widower is much different than A single mom with support…

                    • S

                      You would call yourself a widower if a spouse died, not a single parent.

          • Jim

            My wife is typically absent during the Spring and Fall to help maintain power plants. So I am basically a single parent during those times. I have a rather well behaved 6 and 4 year old if there is such a thing. They walk right with me, touch nothing and the receipt checker did not fail to mention to me about the upcoming limit and I slightly snapped back “Then I guess Costco will be OK with me leaving one of the kids in the car next time.”

      • Amanda

        The OP said families (mom + dad and either one or 2 kids) or Senior citizen couples. She was referencing unnecessary coupling. Not necessary multiples (single parent with kids).

      • Belle

        Not go to Costco? As a single mom with 2 young kids, I do not see how Costco is an essential place to shop (considering membership fees etc) or cost effective that other stores right now cant offer similar items.

    • mgna

      I agree w/you, KM! At a grocery store today a couple was shopping while letting their kid run around the store like a playground. Another couple shopped while the female wore a mask and the male coughed and hacked until his face turned red. WHY was he in the store?!!
      Right now there are many people, churches, organizations offering to help those who need it no matter the circumstances (illness, single parenting, elderly, etc). One just needs to reach out & utilize the help offered.

  6. Laure

    My son unloads the truck at Target, and they are thinking of roping off all of the non-essential areas because people are coming to target because they are bored and browsing. Stay home people!

    • mgna

      I think it’s a great idea! I would suggest a step further…lock the doors to Target, grocery stores, WalMart, etc. The companies could staff additional employees to accept phone & online orders only, fill the orders, deliver as a drive thru and set the items in the back of the trunk. That option would reduce the # in stores plus protect the employees, too.

      • selah

        Better yet, let’s just put giant locks on everyone’s houses and give up total personal freedom as we watch the economy crumble from the safety of our homes. Problem solved!

        • Laurena4590563


        • Laure

          Maybe you don’t understand. I live in Michigan. We are in a shelter in place order. Which means get your essential items and go home. You don’t call up your girlfriends saying – hey girl I’m bored wanna go to Target? The economy can’t recover when people are sick and dying.

          • Selah

            I understand completely. I live in Wisconsin, we have the same order. If I’m out getting some bread and milk and I want to go browse at the candles, I’m going to. Its not like this some magical virus that attacks you in the home goods department but not the grocery department. Anyways, my main point was if your solution kills a hundred to save 1, its not a very good solution.

            • Rama

              You certainly don’t seem to get the point! Goodness lady!!

              • Selah

                What a thorough, convincing and thought-out response. I’ll definitely have to take time to think all of that compelling information over.

            • A

              What you are saying is true that the virus can be in any department, but why would you take your chances browsing and being out more than necessary? Just get the groceries and go home to reduce chances of exposure.

              • Selah

                Why ever go out again then? You’re exposed to thousands of viruses every time you leave the house. Always have been. Always will be. You’re constantly an asymptomatic carrier of something. You just don’t know what because you don’t bother going to the hospital to get tested. Hopefully this will finally teach people to 1. Wash your hands and 2. Stay home when you’re sick.

                • A

                  I believe this seems a little extreme. We go out when the curve has flattened to avoid overcrowding at the hospitals.

            • Deb

              You are suppose to get in and get out. Sorry you become part of the problem when hanging out.

            • Laure

              We have a pandemic in our country!! And you want to browse for candles??? Get your essentials and get out! What is wrong with people?

              • DM

                Some people don’t care.. it’s going to hit close to them and then Amy e they will😞

          • Liberty

            Laure. And there you have it, the “quarantine shaming” starts. People like you get to decide what is essential and what is not? Are you the person going around frowning at people when looking inside their shopping cart because that tshirt next to the gallon of milk and baby formula isn’t essential?? That is what is so disappointing anymore, people shaming others at a time when we should be FOR each other. Its not a ‘side’, its not a ‘Im better than you because I needed only milk and cheese while at Target (or Costco etc etc)’.

        • mgna

          Until people use common sense the economy will continue to suffer.

        • Lenardh

          I agree with you Selah! No one is saying go hang out with girlfriends, but people are losing mind over this virus. Yes, it’s killing people! Wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick. People need to know the risk of leaving their home but ultimately that should be their choice. Everything is closed anyway… now they have a problem which isle someone goes to… talk about control. Go live in communist China if you want to be told what to do. Shut off the news and think for yourselves people.

          • Don’t be selfish

            You, right here are why we are going to end up being forced to stay home or face charges. You know, like Italy? They are not communists but I just think we don’t want so many to die from this. Talk to your local healthcare workers and ask how they feel about you browsing around the stores🙄 can you start taking this seriously now?

            • Lenardh

              My whole family is healthcare workers!! I know what’s happening in hospitals probably better than you. I am also staying home for the most part. I don’t go browsing in stores or hangout with girlfriends so stop your stupid assumptions. You clearly have no clue. My point was about forced quarantine and erosion of liberties. That doesn’t mean I’m out there socializing and being careless.

      • Amanda

        I completely agree! There is no reason to go inside to shop when the store offers car pick-up. Just people who want to be out and about….

    • Rose

      That I agree with. Walmart should do it to. The only reason they are still allowed to be open is because they sell food. They should not be able to sell any clothes, etc

      • Sara

        Who are you to determine what is essential? What isn’t essential for you might be essential for someone else.

        Clothing is essential. Last time I checked, public nudity is still illegal.

        • A

          Lol that is true!! But if you are at home like you are supposed to, being naked in your house isn’t 😉

        • Deb

          If your state is on a “stay at home order” essentials are groceries, banking, pharmacies, gas stations, medical….not shopping for a purse.

  7. acgold

    We went to Costco last week at senior hour. We are over 60 and I am disabled. We waited on line, six feet apart, they let 2-3 people in at a time. Luckily we did not need paper goods or cleaning products. People crowding into those aisles and not social distancing. It was so much less crowded during ” normal” hours.

  8. Lenardh

    “Give me liberty or give me death” Unbelievable how people are surrendering their liberties because of 2% threat of death. Freedom is more important than security (or an illusion of security). If you don’t agree, ask those that live in countries without freedoms we enjoy(ed) here. With every “emergency” the rights of Americans are eroding.

    • Laure

      Where have you been? Do you watch only Fox News? Our hospitals don’t have the PPE equipment they need are are overwhelmed with sick people. Our Drs and nurses are wearing trash bags for protection.

      • Amber

        Doctors are overwhelmed with panicked sick people wanting to get tested who would have, in ‘normal’ circumstances, stayed home and recovered on their own. Do you know how many tests have come back negative? Also, do you know which news network has the lowest rating due to lack of credibility and honest reporting? Hint: Its not Fox.

        • Laure

          The people on the east side of Michigan aren’t panicked. They have COVID 19 / we have a crisis situation in our state. Get off Fox News and find out what our country is going through due to the stupidity of Trump

          • Lenardh

            Get off CNN then maybe you’ll see the America you don’t currently see through the lenses of CNN. I have several family members in healthcare, they see the situation first hand, thank you very much!

      • A

        I agree with you. But I think people miss the point. People will think this until they pass away from the virus or someone they love does. Many people only think about themselves.

        • annie

          Yes and they obviously don’t know anyone that works in healthcare right now.

    • Lily

      @Lenardh “Unbelievable” how other peoples’ lives mean less to you than a small shopping inconvenience. 2% mortality means ~6,500,000 people in the United States could potentially die. Sorry to infringe on your “freedom”

      • 77_purity

        I think if everyone collectively practices social distancing and stay home as much as possible, the faster we can all get back to “normal” life. I understand that this isn’t something many of us are accustomed to, but this is temporary. Browsing or just hanging out due to boredom endanger not only oneself but also others. I think that’s the key thing… yes, people can decide for themselves what risk they want to put themselves through, but in this situation, when a person opts to take that risk they are also deciding for others not just themselves. Each person can make a difference in saving the lives of many.

        • 77_purity

          just wanted to note that my comment is in general and not directed towards anyone in particular. This is a scary time we are all living in right now with many potential lives that could be spared if everyone would practice wisdom and common sense. data often depict the difference between practicing and not practicing social distancing principles, and the lives lost can be devastating. there’s also a great illustration of a matches being lit, but if there’s a gap caused by one, then the other matches are kept from burning. each life matters and is valuable. hope everyone can stay safe and in turn be mindful of others around them.

      • Lenardh

        It’s not about my shopping inconvenience. It’s about about the freedom that we are guaranteed under the constitution. Our brave soldiers had to die to gain that freedom. Take a history lesson. Oh and by the way, I am not out there shopping because I’m bored. I am home for the most part because I want to be wise about it and make right choices for my family. But that should be my and your choice to make… not the government’s.

        • Lily

          @Lenardh The problem is that in this situation, our choices can have rippling consequences for other people. I am glad that you are being wise and staying home for the most part, but reckless people are the ones who make such policies and laws necessary. Our laws guarantee freedom, but not when it infringes on the freedom of others. We have the right to own a gun, but we are legally not allowed to shoot another person. We can choose to vaccinate or not vaccinate, but we can’t attend a public school if we’re a potential health danger to other people. Over packed public space is a well-established risk for increasing the spread of highly infectious virus. The government absolutely can, and should, dictate stay-at-home orders to protect public health.

          Regarding this store policy though, Costco is a private entity and has the freedom to make whatever polices they want within the law to limit the public health risk. Their freedom is protected under our laws just like yours or mine. You have the choice to shop there or not, but our Founding Father’s certainly didn’t grant or intend for you to have the “freedom” to dictate how another entity conducts its business.

  9. obler

    At peak times, first thing when they open for a few hours Costco in Mesa, AZ lets in 100 people at a time every 15 minutes. Honestly I’d wait even when we’re out of this mess because it was soooo less crowded and parking was great.

  10. siena95

    Just stupid. I wonder how they are going to enforce this.

  11. Sand

    Younger people don’t seem to get it , it will become real when someone they know dies . Single parent – 2 , 1 yr olds died in ny , is it worth the risk ? Only you can decide , and will have to live with it

    • annie

      SO TRUE!!! and sadly so. My mom was 20 during world war two and she said people then wanted to help people but these days it’s all ‘me,me,me’ …so sad

  12. Chritina

    For the single parents: please reach out to people you know to go get groceries you need. Please you are the most essential thing in your household, protect yourself. If you can not have someone else go get your groceries for you, instead of taking your kids, what are you going to do when or if you are sick and possibly hospitalized. There are a ton of unknowns right now but what the general public should know is that we need to help each other in any way we can right now.

    • annie

      What a fantastic point. With all the deaths (and the deaths of younger healthy people and toddlers) why would you risk your child dying or your death leaving them parentless (not to mention your being put into a medically induced coma because you needed to be in a ventilator…I guess people don’t lnow how this works)

    • Jan

      Thank you for your post, I’ve seen many single moms or people in general make many excuses. I’m someone who works at a big retail store and I can’t believe the things I’ve seen lately during a pandemic and the buying habits of people during a pandemic. People just come in to browse and it boggles my mind. Fortunately online ordering has picked up but there are still those that just don’t care, like someone said in a previous statement it will only take a loss of a loved one to get it through for some people.

  13. susan

    Not sure if I’m just cynical, but to me it just seems Costco wants to sell more memberships. If only two people are allowed to go in with one card then the other people who want to go in need to buy their own card. If the other people buy there own card then welcome on in. They are not preventing people from going into their store. They are preventing more than 2 people from using one card.

  14. hip2jen

    I wish they’ve done this two weeks ago

  15. Lenore

    I am considered an essential worker and I work at Sam’s club. If I don’t go into work, I don’t get paid, but if I do go into work, I risk exposing myself to the virus and bring it home to my family. The main things that bothers my co-workers and I is that the people coughing usually do not have a mask on and often do not cover their mouths when they cough. And, many people do (and even admit) that bringing their families to Sam’s is their family outing. They literally let their kids chase each other running around the store to work off energy. I had one woman tell me a couple of days ago that she brought her five kids. plus a friend of one of the kids, to Sam’s because they were bored. When I told her that being exposed to so many people in the store every day makes me a little nervous about getting the virus, she just said “Oh, you’ll be fine, if you get it you’ll get over it and if your family gets it, they’ll recover too”:(

    • Lisa M

      Lenore, this type of attitude is the reason why the country is currently shut down. There are enough people with such a relaxed ” don’t care” attitude, they sort of ruin it for everyone. I have a large family, and nurses in my family as well. We have always done our best to stay home when we are sick. It just seems like common sense, you know?? Treat others the way you want to be treated.

      My prayers are with those of you working in essential jobs. Blessings and a big thank you. I hope you all kind find ways to build your immune systems during this time…. I am a big believer in taking care of my own health and being prepared to be exposed.

    • Lily

      Lenore, I’m so sorry to hear that you have to deal with such inconsiderate people especially during these stressful times. People seem to hear 1% mortality and think “ahh this no big deal and I will likely be fine if I get it” instead of “some people will lose their lives if infected, how can I be a decent human being and avoid spreading the disease?”

      Thank you for risking yourself and your family to keep essential services running. I hope your store can put in some measures to protect workers better!

  16. Lisa M

    Just a general comment: There are a lot of people having difficulty with shopping. Elderly, single parents… What can we all do to help? So many of us would love to do someone else’s shopping so that they have what they need.

  17. Sandy

    The 6 ft. apart at checkout is going great and people seem to be doing the same shopping. I do have a problem with a mom, dad, and 2 children about 7 and 10. One adult should have stayed in the car with the 2 children. The children were well behaved, I just don’t think they should have been in the store.

  18. Lori

    Please amend your post to say that Costco allows two people per MEMBERSHIP. NOT per membership card.
    A family of four has one card per Mom and Dad, for instance. Only two people are allowed in for the whole membership-not two for Mom’s card and two for Dad’s card.
    Thank you.

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