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Local Costco, Albertsons suspend samples in face of COVID-19 pandemic

Fast in the Morning Wild 101

If you hit up one of two popular local grocers looking for a few samples, you’ll be disappointed, for now.

Local Costco Wholesale and Albertsons stores stopped handing out free samples in recent days. The measures come as the World Health Organization officially deemed COVID-19 a ‘pandemic.’

At Albertsons, a company spokesperson says it wants to keep everyone safe.

“The health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors is a top priority,” Albertsons Companies spokesperson Kathy Holland told BoiseDev. “We have temporarily suspended sampling events in our stores.”

Costco also stopped handing out samples in some of its stores, though the company hasn’t answered questions about it. The Boise warehouse is one of the stores not providing samples as of this past weekend. Employees of a separate company, Club Demonstration Services, handle the sample events. We spotted those employees in other parts of the store handling other tasks.

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At Albertsons, the company stepped up other measures to help protect against the spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

“We have stepped up how often we clean and disinfect all departments, restrooms, and other high-touch points of the store, like checkstands and service counters,” Holland said. “For customers’ convenience, we have introduced cart wipes and hand sanitizer stations at key locations within the stores.”

[Boise-based Albertsons files IPO to go public, again]

Walmart, Fred Meyer take steps

Kroger Co., which operates Fred Meyer stores, put limits on the number of certain products consumers can buy online.

“Due to high demand and to support all customers, we will be limiting the number of sanitization, cold and flu-related products to 5 each per order,” it said on its website.

Walmart posted an extensive COVID-19 response letter on its website.

“First and foremost, we are taking preventive measures to keep our stores clean and maintain a healthy environment,” the retailer wrote. “Stores are cleaned daily, which includes using sanitizing solutions in high-touch, high-traffic areas. We have increased associate focus on cleaning and have dedicated an associate to maintain key areas throughout the day. We’ve seen increased foot traffic, so we’re sending additional cleaning supplies for use in places like the registers and on shopping carts.”

Walmart also announced extended support for employees impacted by the virus.

Representatives for Winco Foods did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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