As meat farming and production grinds to a halt due to COVID-19 fears, retailers like Costco are finding it hard to meet consumer demand.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Costco is limiting the amount of beef, pork and poultry products customers can purchase.

The company on Monday announced a temporary limit of three meat purchases per Costco member to ensure everyone has access to the items they need. The new restrictions come as the coronavirus — which has infected nearly 1,160,000 nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University — forced the closures of over a dozen meat processing plants, causing an anticipated “break” in the food supply chain.

“Our buyers and suppliers are working hard to provide essential, high demand merchandise as well as everyday favorites,” the company wrote on its website.

Other grocers have taken similar steps as they prepare for a massive shortage in meat supplies.

The Kroger Co. had already imposed limits on pork and ground beef products at some of its stores, according to Reuters. On Saturday, the New York-based Tops Friendly Markets announced limits on fresh chicken, fresh beef and fresh pork, allowing customers just two packages of each, local station WGRZ reported.

The policy will remain in place until further notice, Tops Friendly Markets announced, according to the TV station.

At Costco, the meat bins have been nearly emptied with signs reminding customers of their limited options. Some members have been luckier than others.

“I didn’t try to go to Safeway; I’m kind of over Safeway grocery stores,” Costco member Naomi Banda told NBC Bay Area. “So I came out to see if I could get a tri-tip or some chicken. I was able to score.”

“I can’t wait to get it on the BBQ,” Banda added.

The club store has made several other changes to ensure the safety of its staff and employees. Starting Monday, all Costco members, guests and employees will be required to wear face masks “at all times” in the store. Members should continue to keep a safe distance from others, the company said, noting that face coverings “shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for social distancing.”

Members are encouraged to bring their own reusable shopping bags with the store allowing only two people per membership card into the warehouse at a time, according to Costco’s website.

“Costco is firmly committed to helping protect the health and safety of our members and employees, and to serving our communities,” the company said. “We are closely monitoring the changing situation, and complying with Public Health guidance.”

Original source: https://www.miamiherald.com