ISSAQUAH, WASH. – Costco Wholesale Corp. announced several changes to its store policies, including limits on certain food items and the requirement that shoppers wear face coverings while in Costco stores.

Effective May 4, Costco is limiting purchases of fresh beef, pork and poultry to a total of three items per member. The retailer imposed the limits to ensure more shoppers can purchase merchandise they want and need.

The limits also are a direct response to supply chain disruptions. Several major meat processors, including Tyson Foods Inc., JBS USA and Smithfield Foods Inc., announced temporary plant closures as workers began testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Lincoln Premium Poultry, Costco’s fully integrated poultry processing operation, announced its first coronavirus (COVID-19) case in April. The company didn’t idle the plant but instead arranged a deep clean of all areas and scheduled work continued as normal.

In addition to the limits on meat purchases, Costco is requiring members and guests to wear a face covering that goes over the mouth and nose, at all times while at Costco locations. Excluded from this are children under the age of 2 and individuals who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition.

“Costco employees are required to wear face coverings, and now we are asking that Costco members do so too,” said Craig Jelinek, president and chief executive officer of Costco Wholesale. “We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. This is not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer, but others too.

“In short, we believe this is the right thing to do under the current circumstances. Although some may disagree with this policy or question its effectiveness, we’re choosing to err on the side of safety in our shopping environments. Costco has continued to operate during this crisis as an essential business in all of our communities, and our employees are on the front lines. As part of a community, we believe this simple act of safety and courtesy is one that Costco members and employees can undertake together.”

Additional policy changes can be found here.