Kroger updates its face mask policy as delta variant spreads

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Kroger is the latest retailer to update its face mask policies after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made changes to its masking guidance due to increasing concern over the delta variant of COVID-19.

Kroger is now strongly encouraging all people inside its stores to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status. This is a shift from the company’s previous guidance which only asked customers who were unvaccinated to wear a mask.

“Based on the CDC’s science-based guidance and the input of our associates, we are updating our mask policy in a way that balances our values of safety and respect,” Kroger said in a statement. “We strongly encourage all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask when in our stores and facilities.”

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The decision follows the CDC backpedaling some of its masking recommendations as the delta variant of the coronavirus becomes a cause for concern. The CDC is now recommending that even vaccinated people mask up indoors in counties where COVID-19 transmission levels are considered high or substantial.

Kroger already requires unvaccinated employees to wear masks and the company said it will continue to offer its employees a $100 one-time payment for getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kroger's new $55 million customer fulfillment center in Monroe is the first of 20 planned colossal automated warehouse/distribution facilities to be created as part of a partnership between Kroger and U.K.-based online grocery retailer Ocado. The 335,000-square-foot facility features digital and robotic capabilities that allow it to assemble an order of approximately 50 items in six minutes instead of approximately 30 to 45 minutes with a Kroger employee picking them up from various areas of the store. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Kroger's new $55 million customer fulfillment center in Monroe is the first of 20 planned colossal automated warehouse/distribution facilities to be created as part of a partnership between Kroger and U.K.-based online grocery retailer Ocado. The 335,000-square-foot facility features digital and robotic capabilities that allow it to assemble an order of approximately 50 items in six minutes instead of approximately 30 to 45 minutes with a Kroger employee picking them up from various areas of the store. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Kroger is not alone in updating its mask policies. Target on Monday announced it will once again require masks for employees and “strongly recommend” them for shoppers in some areas where COVID-19 is surging.

Similarly, Walmart, Home Depot and Sam’s Club reversed their mask policies. Walmart is requiring its workers, including those who are vaccinated, to wear masks in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates.