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Costco reportedly won't allow non-members to eat at the food court

Management at the SODO location tells KING 5 that the members-only policy has always been in place, but it is hard to enforce.

SEATTLE — It’s a cheap lunch option for many, but soon Costco could be restricting who is allowed to eat at their food courts.

Starting in March, Costco food courts will reportedly be available to members only. 

Management at the SODO location in Seattle said the company’s policy has always stated that only paying members are allowed to eat at the chain’s food courts. However, many locations have not strictly, if at all, enforced the rule.

The warehouse chain is a popular spot for a cheap and easy lunch, offering customers a hotdog and a drink for only $1.50. Costco memberships start at $60 a year for a basic membership.

KING 5’s Chris Cashman spoke with a few members at the SODO location, all of whom didn’t know that non-members were able to get by and eat at the food court.

One customer said the prospect of shorter lines at the food court if the non-member ban went into effect was appealing to him. 

Another customer, who is also a member, disagreed, saying “It’s the cheapest lunch in town. Why shouldn’t you share it?” 

Signs have been spotted at multiple Costcos across the U.S. saying, “Effective March 16, 2020, an active Costco membership card will be required to purchase items from our food court. You can join today. Please see our membership counter for details.” 

Reaction on social media was swift, many expressing frustration and disappointment. 

It's unknown how strict the enforcement will be or if it will be enforced country-wide or at the discretion of certain locations. 

Costco said "management has no comment at this time" when asked about the move. 

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