I went to Costco's food court during a pandemic, and it's still one of the best deals at the store

  • I visited Costco’s famous food court during the pandemic.
  • The chain is known for it’s $1.50 soda and hot dog deal.
  • Dining areas were closed because of COVID, but Costco is planning to reopen them soon.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Costco's food court is one of the major draws for members of the big box store.

In March of 2020, Costco closed down seating areas at food courts and cut back menus. Now, the company has plans to reopen them and bring back beloved menu items.

Early on in the pandemic, customers could only buy pizza and hot dogs to-go.

Now, my local Costco location in Rochester, NY is selling hot dogs, pizzas, chicken bakes, and fountain drinks.

COVID safety measures are still in place, though.

Costco is encouraging customers to order through kiosks and reduce interaction with workers.

The little kiosks are separated by plexiglass dividers, though no one else was ordering when I used one.

After ordering, you get a receipt with your order number, and you can wait near the pickup window.

That's also where you get cups for the fountain machine.

Refills are free, but Costco requires a new cup each time to cut down on potential contamination.

A self-serve smoothie area is also available, along with hand sanitizer stations and napkins.

The food court area is otherwise mostly open and empty, though Costco is planning to add back seating in some areas as COVID rates go down.

Social distancing markers on the ground serve as reminders to stay six feet away from workers and other customers.

Signs posted all around the store also encourage customers to ask about vaccine appointments.

Even with a limited menu, Costco's food court is a good deal. We got a slice of pizza, a hot dog, chicken bake, and two drinks for under $8.

The $1.50 hot dog and soda combo is particularly iconic, and the price hasn't changed since the deal launched in 1985.

Be sure to pick up any condiments or straws at the counter, though — most self-serve extras are behind the counter now.

I'm definitely a fan, and will probably never leave Costco without a diet Pepsi and chicken bake again.

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