Coronavirus concerns mean no free food samples at stores

Stores in the Twin Cities are doing what they can to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.
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Been to Target recently with your kids and seen the look of terror in your kid's eyes when they learn the bucket of free cookies isn't there? The novel coronavirus has gone and done it now, with concerns over its spread prompting stores to stop providing free food samples, Target among them. 

The sign above, from the Target store located at the corner of Cedar Ave. and 66th St. in Richfield, reads: "For the health and safety of our guests and team members, we have temporarily suspended all sampling programs." 

A temporary loss of free samples means a temporary inability to use free food as a way to quiet your kids as you attempt to get in and out of Target without being forced to go look at the toy isles. 

But kudos to Target and other stores for getting out ahead of the virus before its potential spread in Minnesota. 

The more painful disappearance of free samples is at Costco. 

Arguably the king of freebies with cooked sausages here and chips with dip there, Costco has rid its isles of the many freebies that make navigating giant shopping carts through the busy store tolerable, especially on the weekends. 

It's unclear if every Costco location has cut the samples, but a spokesperson at the Eden Prairie Costco confirmed sampling has stopped. 

Health officials on Friday confirmed the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Minnesota, but nationally the total number of confirmed cases has grown to more than 250, including 14 deaths – 13 in Washington state and one in California. 

The University of Washington announced Friday that students will not be permitted to attend classes in person beginning Monday and lasting through the end of the winter quarter, March 20. 

President Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to help fight COVID-19, but many states are still lacking enough or any working test kits. Minnesota has two test kits that can handle approximately 400 tests each, but only approximately 100 tests per day. 

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