Kroger requiring all employees to wear masks starting Sunday, CEO says


CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT) – Kroger is now requiring all its employees to wear masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said in an email to customers on Saturday.

“We’ve provided masks for all of our store associates to wear, and starting this Sunday, we’ll be requiring our associates to wear them, in locations where they’re not already mandated,” McMullen said. “Our associates are also welcome to bring their own suitable masks or facial coverings to work, if they prefer.”

McMullen said he recognizes that due to medical reasons or other circumstances, some associates may not be able to wear a mask and will be providing face shields for those workers while exploring other options as well.

“We’ve learned and continue to learn a lot while keeping our stores open to serve our customers during the pandemic. Earlier this week, we published the first installment of Sharing What We’ve Learned: A Blueprint for Businesses, a resource guide to help other companies – both big and small – create their plans to reopen safely. This tool provides our recommendations, learnings and downloadable materials,” McMullen said.

Kroger has taken many steps during the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to protect workers and customers. The company has been testing one-way aisles, designated special hours for elderly and immunocompromised and changing a store to pick-up only.

The grocery store is keeping its stores at 50% capacity, abiding by provisions laid out in Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s extended stay-at-home order, mandating that retail stores – like supermarkets – limit how many people are allowed inside at once.

Recently, Kroger has installed plexiglass partitions at checkout lanes, pharmacy and Starbucks registers across the enterprise. Floor decals were put in place to promote physical distancing at checkout lanes and other counters.

They grocery chain has also raised wages of employees amid the pandemic and is calling on federal and state officials to designate employees as “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel.”

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