Costco temporarily suspends free food samples over coronavirus
ORLANDO, Fla. - If your shopping trip to Costco includes stopping by all the free sample stations to fill up on goodies, it won't be happening for awhile.
Costco stores, including those in Central Florida, are suspending free samples over safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
It was not immediately known if all stores in the U.S. have pulled samples. No timeline was given as to when the suspension would end. An employee told FOX 35 that the ban is in effect "until further notice."
With fears of the coronavirus heightening, some shoppers in recent weeks voiced concerns over whether the warehouse should continue the practice of handing out the little snacks.
RELATED: Coronavirus prompts Trader Joe's to change food sample policy
"Eating samples from the same tray and then we put the food in our mouths and lick our fingers/wipe our mouths and go on to the next sample tray... Everyone is at Costco right now... This is how stuff travels fast," one shopper wrote on Reddit this week.
The sample carts are run by Club Demonstration Services, which provides in-store marketing for Costco.
Many fans of the beloved samples took to social media to mourn the loss of their free shopping smorgasbord.
RELATED: State: 2 deaths related to coronavirus confirmed in Florida
One Twitter user wrote: "My beloved Costco 'out of an abundance of caution' has stopped handing out samples. Time to move up the Doomsday Clock."
Trader Joe's recently made changes to their policy regarding free samples. Employees must now plate samples for customers individually instead of keeping pre-plated samples on a platter.
The Florida Department of Health announced on Friday that two people in Florida who traveled abroad have died due to COVID-19, the state's first reported deaths related to the novel coronavirus.