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Grocery Stores May Be Backtracking on These 5 Rules

Supermarkets are reviewing their safety measures—and major changes could be in store.

After more than a year of living through a pandemic, many of us are understandably tired of hearing about new COVID-19 rules or listening to predictions of what the "new normal" will look like. New COVID-19 infections are spiking across the country as the contagious delta variant spreads. And it's forcing grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses in the food industry to review their safety measures.

Costco and Walmart, in particular, have been busy updating their store policies. The warehouse chain was previously set to end its special shopping hours on July 26 before ultimately deciding to leave them in place two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays fr0m 9 to 10 a.m.). Meanwhile, Walmart implemented 40-hour cleaning regimens at stores across the country.

Is this a sign that grocery stores may be backtracking on certain COVID-19 era rules? Read on to find out what major changes could be in store. (Related: This Is the Best Supermarket in America, New Survey Says)

Mask mandates

Woman in a disposable face mask is checking a shopping list on a smartphone in a supermarket

It's been more than two months since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted the face mask requirement for individuals who are fully vaccinated. Major grocery stores like Costco, Walmart, and Sam's Club quickly moved to allow these customers to shop without a mask.

Now, the federal agency is backtracking by recommending that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors if they live in areas with high transmission rates. It wouldn't be a stretch to predict that these same large chains will follow any additional changes in guidance from the CDC.

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Senior Shopping Hours

Walmart senior hours sign

As we previously mentioned, Costco has already reversed its move to end special shopping hours. Walmart decided in June to keep its special hours in place, even though it extended its hours to open at 6 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. Shoppers who are over 60 years old or vulnerable to COVID-19 infections can shop during the first hour that the store is open until 7 a.m., according to USA Today.

We wouldn't be surprised if other beloved brands like Trader Joe's add this perk back to their schedules.

Social Distancing

Costco social distancing

This is a rule that some people hoped would outlive COVID-19, and it very well could make a huge comeback amid a spike in cases. Costco is reportedly getting rid of floor decals in some stores, but they could be back soon along with new posters and signs.

Capacity Limits

Costco line

You may not have had to wait in a line to get into the grocery store recently, but that could change soon if grocery stores decide to put capacity limits back in place.

Cart Sanitizing

Costco cart sanitizing

Does your local supermarket have disinfecting wipes near the rows of grocery carts? Either way, employees may once again be stationed at store entrances to help sanitize them.

Truth be told, this COVID-19 measure is a good habit to keep up with on your own. Who wants to push a dirty cart around? Nobody!

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda