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7 Major Changes to Expect at Whole Foods Moving Forward

The salad bar won't be back anytime soon.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, stores and restaurants are maintaining and expanding their safety policies. Many stores are requiring face masks for customers, and Whole Foods is one of them. In fact, Whole Foods provided free masks to shoppers back in May. But the facial covering requirement isn't the only thing that's changing at Whole Foods.

While no one can know for sure how things will go over the coming months, it's safe to assume there will be plenty of changes at grocers like Whole Foods. Here are some major changes to expect at the chain as the pandemic continues.

And if you're headed to Whole Foods, here are 20 Surprisingly Cheap Eats from Whole Foods.


The salad bar isn't coming back anytime soon

self serve salad bar at whole foods

Buffet restaurants are closing, and it doesn't look good for buffets at grocery stores, either. For now, Whole Foods has closed its self-serve salad bars, only offering prepackaged options. Don't expect the buffet-style options to return during the pandemic.

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Face masks are required

people wearing masks in line outside whole foods
Jennifer M. Mason/Shutterstock

It might sound like a no-brainer at this point, but make sure you have a face mask with you when you go shopping at Whole Foods (or, really, any grocery store).

RELATED: Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!


Senior hours are still in place

whole foods vegetables

"All Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada will service customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public," the Whole Foods website states. If you're a senior, consider shopping during these hours to beat the crowds.

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Seating areas are still closed

inside of whole foods store

There's no self-serve food at the Whole Foods hot bar and salad bar, so Whole Foods' indoor seating areas aren't open, either. It's probably a good thing, though—the seating areas don't leave much room for social distancing.


Free samples have been sidelined

food samples

"We are temporarily suspending all food sampling and demos until further notice," Whole Foods' website explains. The grocer joins other chains like Trader Joe's and Costco in temporarily suspending its sampling policy.

RELATED: This 7-day smoothie diet will help you shed those last few pounds.


Reusable cups are suspended

allegro coffee aisle at whole foods
Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock

If you bring a reusable cup when you buy a latte or a smoothie at Whole Foods, we applaud you! But like Starbucks and other coffee shops, Whole Foods isn't allowing the use of personal cups in stores during the pandemic.


Hand sanitizer is widely available

Asian shopper disinfecting hands with sanitizer in supermarket during shopping for groceries. Public shopping cart is high risk virus and bacteria contact point.

As at other grocery stores and restaurants, hand sanitizer is now available throughout Whole Foods for customers and employees to use. You can't be too safe!

And when you're cooking your Whole Foods haul, don't miss these 52 Life-Changing Kitchen Hacks That'll Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more about Meghan