Costco, Home Depot Announce Limitations on Number of Customers Inside Stores

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
April 1, 2020Updated: April 1, 2020

Costco and Home Depot are joining the stores limiting the number of customers inside amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19, the disease crippling states across the nation, is caused by the CCP (Communist Chinese Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

Costco said no more than two people can enter a store with each membership card. The rule goes into effect on April 3.

“This temporary change is for your safety and the safety of our employees and other members, and to further assist with our social distancing efforts,” the company said in a statement on its website.

Home Depot said on Wednesday that it will limit the number of customers inside stores at any given time as a way of “promoting social and physical distancing.”

Social distancing refers to a number of measures revolving around reducing density, including asking people to stay at least six feet away from each other, in an effort to reduce the spread of the CCP virus.

Epoch Times Photo
Shelves where protective masks were once displayed sit empty at a Home Depot store in San Rafael, California, on March 2, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The virus has symptoms similar to the flu but research to date indicates it spreads far easier than influenza. In many patients it manifests with no, mild, or moderate symptoms. Up to 20 percent of patients require hospitalization and some die.

Costco also said it was adjusting shorter hours, closing stores for an hour on three mornings a week for the elderly and disabled, and only allowing limited takeout orders at food courts. Home Depot’s new policies include eliminating major spring promotions, posting social distancing reminders throughout stores, and increasing the frequency of cleaning.

Stores across the nation have cut hours and made other changes during the pandemic, including limiting the number of shoppers. Trader Joe’s, ShopRite, and a number of smaller stores have previously said they were limiting the number of shoppers in at least some locations.

Some states have forced stores to limit shoppers, including Maine. Gov. Janet Mills’s executive order (pdf) mandates only five shoppers in the smallest stores, up to 100 in the largest stores.

Sam’s Club, Costco’s major competitor, has not limited the number of shoppers in stores but has also implemented a time for seniors and people with disabilities only. The company also said managers were advising any employees who feel sick to stay at home along with shifting store hours to allow workers enough time to restock, sanitize, and clean.

Lowe’s, Home Depot’s major competitor, has also refrained from limiting the number of shoppers but announced a raft of changes, including adding signs in stores about social distancing, increasing cleaning, and bolstering its curbside pickup process.