The masks stay on — at least at Kroger.
The Kroger Family of Companies, which make up America’s largest chain of grocery outlets, has announced its continued mask requirements — of both employees and customers — despite the recent reversal of COVID-safety policies in two states.
“The Kroger Family of Companies’ most urgent priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers while meeting our societal obligation to provide open stores, e-commerce solutions and an efficiently operating supply chain so that our communities have access to fresh food,” a Kroger spokesperson said in an emailed statement shared with Fox News.
“To ensure the continued safety of our customers and associates, The Kroger Family of Companies will continue to require everyone in our stores across the country to wear masks until all our frontline grocery associates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement continued. “We also continue to advocate to federal, state and local officials to prioritize frontline grocery workers for the vaccine rollout plan, and we will offer a $100 one-time payment to associates who receive the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The chain will still be following other CDC guidance, including recommendations for handwashing and social distancing, the spokesperson confirmed.
The Kroger Family of Companies, which includes outlets such as “King Soopers, Ralph’s and Fred Meyer, among more than a dozen others, operates thousands of grocery stores across the country.
Earlier this week, Republican Governors Greg Abbott, of Texas, and Tate Reeves, of Mississippi, both announced the lifting of state mask mandates, as well as the reopening of each state’s business at 100% capacity.
Only hours afterward, President Biden warned against the continued threat of the coronavirus and the early reversal of COVID safety policies.
“Though we celebrate the news of a third vaccine, I urge all Americans, please keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced, wear masks — keep wearing them, get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” Biden said from the White House. “Now is not the time to let up.”
Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.