CINCINNATI — Kroger is increasing safety measures in their stores as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The company's CEO announced in an email Saturday that all store employees will now be mandated to wear face masks while at work. Some stores had already required associates to wear protective face coverings. The requirement started Sunday.
As part of the mandate, CEO Rodney McMullen said Kroger would provide masks, or employees could bring their own "suitable" masks or facial covers to work. Face shields will also be provided for employees who are unable to wear face masks.
McMullen also encouraged shoppers to wear a mask when visiting the store.
"Although it feels different because we aren’t used to it, I remind myself to keep the proper physical distance when I’m in our stores and around other people. I also wear a mask when I’m in our stores, and I encourage you to do so as well," he wrote.
According to WLWT-TV, Kroger has tested or implemented other safeguards and procedures to protect employees and their customers from COVID-19. That includes plexiglass shields and markers to promote physical distancing at the checkout aisle, one-way aisles in the store and designated hours for elderly and immuno-compromised customers to shop. The number of customers allowed in the store at one time has also been restricted.
Earlier this month, the company extended its grocery pick-up option to include shoppers who use government assistance to buy their groceries.
Kroger also announced it was extending its $2/hour "hero bonus" to frontline workers through May 2. The initial bonus was paid out for hours worked through the March 29 and April 18 pay periods.