Costco Gives First Responders Priority Admittance at Stores

The announcement comes after the big box retailer also limited the number of shoppers allowed in its stores while also shortening operation hours.
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Big box retailer Costco  (COST) - Get Report announced that it will be giving priority access to healthcare workers and first responders as part of a new set of rules the company is implementing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Healthcare workers and first responders with Costco memberships and an official identification "will be allowed to move to the front of any line to enter the warehouse," according to the set of new rules published on Costco's website. 

Other changes include opening the company's warehouse from 8 AM to 9 AM exclusively for members 60 years and older and for those with physical impairments. 

Costco will also now only allow card-carrying members to bring in no more than one guest with them to help comply with social distancing guidelines that dictate at least six feet of space to help slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Costco will also reduce service in its hearing aid, optical, floral and jewelry departments, with limitations varying by location. Its food courts will remain open with a limited menu available for takeout only. 

Retailers that sell food have been deemed essential, and therefore not subject to the strict rules local governments have placed on operating in recent weeks. 

Target  (TGT) - Get Report has also shortened hours in recent weeks to give their employees more time to restock shelves while Walmart WMT and Kroger KR have begun testing one-way shopping aisles designed to encourage physical distancing. 

Shares of Costco were rising 0.5% to $305.30 in afternoon trading on Wednesday. Costco could be looking at a record sales number in March like Target, from consumers stockpiling goods from the coronavirus pandemic.