Due to safety concerns raised by the coronavirus global health emergency, Costco Canada is no longer offering its iconic free food samples.
The popular program reportedly added a risk to both public and employee safety, as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to escalate here and and around the globe.
"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," wrote one concerned shopper on Reddit.
It's not known when or if the program, which was still being offered last weekend at the local Costco, will be reinstated.
Some residents expressed concerns on Facebook that employees would lose their jobs over the decision, however, one Newmarket resident responded that her mother, who did food demonstrations at the Newmarket location, has been assigned to other work.
"They are currently still working for Costco itself, the food demos are subcontracted ... the manager from Costco is keeping the food demos employees (and) letting them work at Costco doing other tasks, it'll be for few weeks to months," Sharon Gee said.
Over the last few weeks, multiple large food companies and restaurant chains like Starbucks and Tim Hortons have implemented precautionary measures amid increasing coronavirus concerns, including suspending the use of personable reusable cups and moving the Roll Up the Rim contest online.
Requests for comment at Costco Orillia were referred to Costco Canada, which did not respond.