Skip to content

7 Major Changes to Expect at Trader Joe's Moving Forward

Social distancing and mask recommendations aren't going away anytime soon.

As states move into the various phases of the reopening process, it's important to remember that the coronavirus pandemic isn't over. In some states, COVID-19 death counts are on the rise, and many companies are still advising employees to work from home. Until there's a coronavirus vaccine, it's hard to imagine anything going back to normal, even things we used to take for granted, like grocery shopping.

With that in mind, here are some of the changes that Trader Joe's has implemented in response to the pandemic. Expect these Trader Joe's changes to stay in place for the coming months, as people are still encouraged to practice social distancing and wear masks. (We know: We miss the demo station's samples, too.)

And if you love TJ's, don't miss these 18 Amazing Trader Joe's Shopping Tips to Know.

Plexiglass barriers separating customers and cashiers

trader joes cashier with face mask and plexiglass barrier
Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

It's hard to observe the six-foot distance rule when you're at a checkout counter. To keep employees and customers safe, grocery stores across the country, including TJ's, have installed plexiglass barriers to minimize the spread of germs.

Sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!

Bans on reusable shopping bags

trader joes paper bag with box of cereal and turkey breast package
Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock

If you diligently bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store and reusable cups to the coffee shop, the pandemic likely put a dent in your environmental goals. Many stores, including Trader Joe's locations in New York, have stopped allowing customers to bring reusable bags to the store, in order to prevent the spread of germs.

Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

Outside lines

trader joes line
Logan Swenson/Shutterstock

For shoppers in metropolitan areas, seeing a line outside Trader Joe's is nothing new. The store's affordable prices bring shoppers to the grocer in droves. But with social distancing rules implemented during the pandemic, fewer customers are allowed in stores at a time. So expect to see lines outside TJ's, even at suburban stores.

Click here for all of our latest coronavirus coverage.

Place markers on the ground

social distancing floor sign at trader joes
Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Both inside the store checkout lines and outside the store for customers to await entry, TJ's has implemented place markers so customers know where to stand so that they'll be six feet apart.

Employees in masks

trader joes carts

Whether or not your local TJ's is strictly enforcing customers to wear face masks before entering the store (please, just wear one), the employees will be wearing them. You might even see some fun Hawaiian-print masks to go with the store's theme.

This 7-day smoothie diet will help you shed those last few pounds.

Brand-name items

trader joes snack aisle
Larry Zhou/Shutterstock

As product availability fluctuates during the pandemic, Trader Joe's has started selling name-brand items when its private-label versions weren't available. Some of the brand-name products that have been seen at TJ's include Land O'Lakes butter, Mt. Olive pickles, and even hotel-style toilet paper.

No free samples

trader joes demo station closed sign
Alex Millauer/Shutterstock

One of the best parts of going to Trader Joe's is visiting the demo station, where you can taste the store's house-brand food and even get a mini cup of coffee. But during the pandemic, these sample stations have been closed, and it doesn't look like they'll return anytime soon.

And once you're home with all those groceries, try out these 52 Life-Changing Kitchen Hacks That'll Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.

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.
Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more about Meghan