Cincinnati, OH–Two Kroger associates have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. One employee works at Kroger-owned Fred Meyer in Washington state and the other at King Soopers in Colorado.
“Upon learning of these cases, we partnered with state and local health experts, followed all sanitation and cleaning procedures, communicated with and supported our store teams, and with the support of the state governments, the stores remain open,” a statement from Kroger said.
A message from Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen was posted on the company’s website, with updates on store hours and steps being taken to protect customers and associates. “We activated our preparedness plan several weeks ago, and we continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation,” McMullen said. “We’re following guidance from federal, state and local agencies, including the CDC and other health organizations.”
In stores, efforts include: cleaning commonly used areas more often; sanitizing restrooms more frequently and restocking with supplies, including soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer; adding extra hand sanitizer at cashier stations, food service counters, and all Pharmacy, The Little Clinic and Starbucks locations; wiping down shopping carts, baskets and equipment; partnering with suppliers to replenish high-demand preparedness products; continuing to provide our customers with free disinfectant wipes at our store entrances to sanitize shopping carts or baskets; following best practices for safe food handling, as always.
The message also noted that associates are encouraged to closely monitor their health and well-being and being asked to stay home if they, or someone in their household, are sick. To support those employees who may be directly affected by COVID-19, Kroger is providing financial support from its Helping Hands fund, which is a company-sponsored employee assistance fund.
The message also encouraged customers to follow the CDC’s suggested hygiene practices to reduce the spread of the virus and to practice safe food handling at home.
On Monday, March 16, The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation also announced a $3 million commitment to help combat food insecurity during the pandemic. The money will be equally distributed between the Foundation’s nonprofit partners, Feeding America and No Kid Hungry.
“Our most urgent mission is to be here for our customers when they need us most, and our store, warehouse, distribution, food production and office associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers,” said Keith Dailey, Kroger’s Group VP of Corporate Affairs, in the press release. “We’re also mindful that the coronavirus pandemic may result in more of our neighbors struggling with food insecurity during this challenging time – and we want to help. That is why The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is directing $3 million, its largest commitment to date, to rapidly deploy hunger-relief resources to food-insecure communities across the country.”