Costco reverses course and will keep senior hours as COVID-19 cases increase nationwide – USA TODAY

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Costco Wholesale will continue to hold special operating hours for members 60 and older and vulnerable shoppers while the coronavirus pandemiccontinues.

Weeks after announcing it would end the senior hourson July 26, the retailer changed course and is instead reducing themfrom 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, Costcos 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 itsCOVID-19 updates page.

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The update comes as thenumber 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 rosein 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 designatingspecial shopping hoursin March 2020to help those the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considered most vulnerable and at-risk forCOVID-19.

Costco started its senior hoursas a twice-weekly eventand quicklyextended to three times a week. When clubs resumed normal hours in early May 2020, clubs extended the senior hours toweekday morningsat most locations.

Last summer,Costco originally announced plans toreduce the special hoursto twice per week in July 2020 but didn't cutthe 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.

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Costco'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 effectiveJuly 26 to twice a week, which will be Tuesday and Thursday.

Find all locations' hours atCostco.com/warehouse-locations. Members and guestswho don't meet the criteria will not be admitted.The following clubs are the exceptions listed on the COVID-19 updates page:

Contributing: Jordan Culver and John Bacon,USA TODAY

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Costco reverses course and will keep senior hours as COVID-19 cases increase nationwide - USA TODAY

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