MIDDLESEX COUNTY, ONT. -- As Costco locations try to keep the number of in-store shoppers down, long lineups have grown outside.

The lineup outside the Costco location at 693 Wonderland Rd. N. on Tuesday morning wrapped down the building and onto the sidewalk along the building's south side.

That had some questioning whether people were abiding by physical distancing requirements.

Similar scenes were reported over the weekend at the south London location.


Costco customer Janet Lee Peters says she wasn’t concerned for her safety while in line, “If people can't respect going into a store then they shouldn't go into the store.”

She added that it took about an hour from when she lined up to walking out with her purchases, “I got here at 12:30, lined-up, paid for my stuff…and I did a return as well.”

But others drove up, saw the lineup and drove out of the parking lot.

“It seems so foreign right, everyone's all lined up and it seems very strange to what we're used to,” Trevor, another Costco regular, says.

We spoke with Costco management on scene and they didn’t want to comment on the lineup.

On Friday, Costco Wholesale Canada said in a statement it would be limiting the number of people allowed inside per membership card to just two.

The store had already added hours exclusively for senior shoppers, Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., but said there has been "a surge of business during this time."

The store says it is limiting how many people can be inside, has reduced some services, increased cleaning protocols and put a limit on some items.

As similar precautions are put in place at other stores, lineups are also becoming evident there.

There was also a lineup outside the Walmart Supercentre in St. Thomas, Ont. on Tuesday morning, after the store implemented limits to the number of shoppers allowed inside and posted security at the doors.

Officials react

Reacting to images of the lineups, London Mayor Ed Holder says, "We understand that people need to pick up their necessities...but we have to ask people to be smarter."

He says people need to keep their distance because it will save lives, and the city continues to ask people to use common sense.

Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie says it's important to take a close look at the image, and that it appears shoppers are using their carts to maintain physical distance, which is "better than nothing," but they should still be even further apart.

Nonetheless, he says they have asked a public health inspector to attend Costco on Tuesday to ensure best practices are being followed.

Holder says while there is no bylaw about physical distancing at this point, it has been done in other jurisdictions, and could be considered in London in the future.

No charges were laid by London police or by bylaw enforcement officials in regards to physical distancing.

- With files from CTV's Nick Paparella