If you’re a card-holding member of the Costco retailer, you’ve no doubt been there when the store has been packed with other members. Logically, the best time to visit the store is when there are the least amount of people there. For some, the best time is right after new shipments come in. Since the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, Costco has changed its hours to offer special times for the people who are the most at-risk for severe or even fatal results from contracting the illness. Most of us want to avoid crowded public places these days, but it’s hard to know which days and hours are the best. After researching the question, we discovered the most recent hours established for the store, and when to go to avoid bumping into other shoppers.
The best day of the week to shop
According to employees who have an inside track on the number of shoppers who come into the store, Tuesdays are the best days to shop there hands down. An employee recently shared that this is the day when the store is the most vacant of people and there are times when it looks like a “ghost town.” If you’re trying to avoid the crowds, then a 10-year worker of the establishment most highly recommends this day. Whether it’s Tuesday or any other day of the week, afternoons and evenings tend to get busier. Many members make a habit of stopping by Costco on their way home from work, and so this makes the late afternoons of weekdays busier than the early morning hours, and it even creates a rush hour in the parking lot, and worse yet, at the check-out lines. Other days of the week that offer the best hours are Monday through Friday. These are preferable to the weekends. While Tuesday has been identified as the best day overall, the rest of the weekdays are less hectic than Saturday or Sunday with weekend shoppers.
Getting in on the magic windows
Costco is like any other retailer. There are lulls in the crowd of shoppers as many members have established their weekly routines. There is a magic window between 11 am when the store first opens until the rush that happens at 12:00 noon. Some people go on their lunch breaks and it can fill up fast during this hour. If you must do your shopping on weekdays in the afternoon, the best time to go Monday through Friday is between 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm. This is the two-and-a-half-hour window of time before the bulk of the weekday work crew gets off work for the day. According to some Costco managers, the best time to go on weeknights is an hour before the store closes. The rush from the after-work crowd has already come and gone and there are many weeknights when Costco has far fewer shoppers in the aisles. It’s one of the best times to shop at night.
Each local Costco has variations
Every Costco location has its own unique patrons so there may be variations in the best times to go. The information that we’re providing is from several resources throughout the nation and it is based upon the opinions of managers and workers who have worked for the retailer for at least 10 years or more. They’ve seen the trends in long lines and observed when lines are low at the checkout stands. This helps us to at least have an idea of when the best times to shop to avoid crowds will be, but there are always a few exceptions.
New and changing hours to accommodate the Coronavirus pandemic
Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, Costco has changed its hours along with the services provided for customers. It is assumed that once the imminent danger has passed, things will return to normal, but this is a date that is projected to be several weeks or even months into the future. Currently, the hours have been reduced and the panic buying has resulted in the need for Costco management to restrict the number of certain items that each customer is allowed to purchase. The demand for items such as toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, boxed cereal, and other items have resulted in the need to restrict how many a customer can purchase at one time.
New store hours
The new hours apply to most Costco stores and the majority of the locations now close at 6:30 pm Monday instead of at 8:30 pm. The weekend hours of Saturday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday from 10: am to 6 pm remain unchanged. The two-hour reduction on Mondays allows staff to sanitize the store after a busy weekend.
During the current health crisis in the United States, Costco has established Senior shopping hours at most of the locations. Senior citizen hours are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They begin at 8 am in the morning to 9 am. This gives the most vulnerable population a time to shop with greater safety at a time when the general public outside of this protected group is not allowed to shop at the same time.
Other changes in Costco operations
Customers will also notice that Costco has reduced the number of persons who are allowed to enter the store at one time. In some areas, only one member per card is allowed in while others allow two persons. Couples showing up with families are being turned away and told that only one can enter and that the children will not be allowed in the store to avoid overcrowding. There are limits on the numbers of persons that are allowed into the store at one time so in some cases, a parent returns to the vehicle with the children while the other parent shops. In order to limit personal contact, social distancing rules have been implemented. Customers and staff must maintain a social distance of 6 feet of space between one another.