Kroger adapts to social distancing guidelines in its stores

By Casey Brosokas

COVID-19 continues to spread through the United States, and grocery stores across the nation have been struggling to keep up with the high demand for certain products, and the evolving social distancing rules.

Residents of Oxford continue to shop at Kroger for food and other things, and the stores have been doing all they can to ensure the safety of the customers.

The Oxford Kroger, like other stores in the chain, has taken steps to protect their employees and the residents of Oxford shopping at the store, including installing plexiglass sneeze guards at the cash registers, adding more hand sanitizing stations and wiping down shopping carts, baskets and other equipment, Kroger said in an email to its associates.

“Health and safety are part of our core values in our daily routine, not just during a pandemic,” said Erin Rolfes, the corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Cincinnati and Dayton locations. Although Kroger is not requiring its employees to wear masks and gloves, the company is strongly encouraging employees to do so, which is compliant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rules, she said.

While masks and gloves at this point are hard to come by, Kroger is also working on supplying personal protective equipment to its employees, the company said in the email. “We are encouraging our associates to wear protective masks and gloves, and we’re working hard to secure these resources for our associates,” they wrote. “Supply has started to arrive for our associates, and we anticipate all locations having personal protective equipment (PPE) within the next several weeks. We continue to advocate for government officials at all levels for help securing a priority place in line for all grocery workers – after health care workers – to have access to protective masks and gloves.”

The store also has limited the number of customers allowed in the store at a time, reducing the limit in Oxford to 615 people at a time, which is 50% of its normal capacity. All stores in the chain are limiting their customers to 50% of capacity, Rolfes said. Kroger is also experimenting with one-way aisles to further encourage social distancing rules.

Kroger is expanding its delivery service to make contactless shopping an easy feature to use for those unable to leave their homes. But the wait time for deliveries can be anywhere from same-day delivery to more than three days due to the popularity of the feature, Rolfes said.

“We are committed to following the guidance of Gov. DeWine and the Public Health Department of Ohio,” Rolfes said.