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Costco Suspending Free Food Samples Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The retail giant is halting free giveaways due to COVID-19 health risks.

Costco is apparently ending one of the simpler joys of bulk shopping due to coronavirus fears.

No, it's not ditching the offer of great savings in buying a whole gallon of nutmeg, but rather, ending its free food samples (temporarily, we hope).

With fears looming of a potential pandemic hitting the United States in the coming months, the Washington state-based retailer is playing it super safe by reportedly ceasing the ubiquitous free food samples its customers enjoy. As reported by Yahoo! Finance:

"As Instagram account @Costcodeals pointed out, the rapid spread of the virus and the increased number of shoppers have caused Costco to temporarily suspend their famous samples to help reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, but the new policy may not affect every store. The fan account states that the news comes directly from a CDS vendor who distributes the famous Costco samples but it is unclear whether this new policy applies to all stores of just select warehouses. We spoke to one warehouse in southern Florida and they did confirm they will be temporarily be suspending free samples but noted that they could not speak for other stores and they did not believe this was a company-wide policy at this time."

Here's the original Instagram post so you can see it for yourself:

The coronavirus is spread via moisture containing the novel COVID-19 virus. Anyone paying attention to the news knows to thoroughly wash their hands. Unfortunately, not everyone is super informed on this dangerous disease, which means that, at this point, making any move to limit contact between people is probably a good idea.

Coincidentally, the largest domestic outbreak of coronavirus is in the Seattle area where Costco is based, which likely influenced the store's decision on ceasing its free samples.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
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