Costco is suspending free samples over safety concerns with the spread of the coronavirus.
It was not immediately known if Costco has pulled samples from all stores in the U.S. or only in select areas or when the suspension would end.
Club Demonstration Services, which provides in-store marketing events for Costco, declined to comment late Friday and referred calls to Costco. Costco did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Costco stores in California, Washington state and Florida said they did not know when Costco would begin offering free food samples again.
The news that product demonstrations would be suspended first surfaced on Reddit Thursday.
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Consumers mourned the smorgasbord of free snacks on social media. Costco free samples are a legendary draw at the warehouse clubs, whether you’re casually grazing or going for a whole meal. Shoppers can sample a meatball here, a few pretzels there, while piling toilet paper and bottled water into their oversized carts.
Costco said this week it’s struggling to keep bottled water, disinfectants and other critical supplies in stock as shoppers preparing to hunker down stock up. Some Costco locations have put limits on how much toilet paper or paper towel they can purchase.
“We’re getting deliveries daily, but still not enough given the increased levels in demand on certain key items,’’ Costco CFO Richard Galanti, said in an earnings call Thursday with investors.