Costco limiting sales of toilet paper, water

Costco will be placing limits on the sale of toilet paper, cleaning products and Kirkland-brand water in its stores in anticipation of rising COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant and a possible repeat of the panic-buying that occurred last year.

During a fourth-quarter earnings call, the big-box retailer said it was “putting some limitations on key items," The New York Times reported. It is unclear, however, what these exact "limitations" will be.

According to the Times, Costco's executive vice president and chief financial officer, Richard A. Galanti, noted that the supply chains have also recently been affected by “port delays; container shortages; Covid disruptions; shortages on various components, raw materials and ingredients; labor cost pressures, and trucker and driver shortages.”

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While there was a merchandise shortage last year, the issue this year is that there is enough merchandise but a two- to three-week delay on delivery, Galanti reportedly noted during last week's call. He also stated that Costco had chartered three vessels to transport merchandise from Asia to the U.S. and Canada.

The Hill has reached out to Costco for comment.

At the start of the pandemic last year, panicked shoppers cleared stores out of toilet paper, disinfecting products and foodstuff, leading to shortages in the U.S. and other countries.

Costco was among the first nationwide retailers to require that customers and staff wear masks when inside its stores.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on masks in May saying fully vaccinated people can go maskless in public, Costco was quick to adapt to this new recommendation.