Kroger will require masks until all frontline grocery workers can receive COVID-19 vaccine

Ohio

The Ohio-based company has been advocating for the prioritization of grocery store workers to receive the vaccine

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– Several states have dropped or have plans to drop COVID-19 mask mandates, but Kroger, the country’s second-largest grocery employer, will not do so until all of their frontline workers can get a vaccine.

“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,” a Kroger spokesperson said via email Monday.

The Ohio-based company has been advocating for the prioritization of grocery store workers to receive the vaccine. Despite the CDC’s recommendation that they be among the first to receive the vaccine alongside teachers and police officers, only a handful of states have prioritized the group, according to the Washington Post. Ohio is not one of these states.

Ohio is in Phase 1C and Phase 2 of its vaccination plan which includes those 50 and older and:

  • People with ALS
  • Bone marrow transplant recipients
  • People with type 1 diabetes
  • Pregnant women
  • Those employed in child-care services
  • Those employed in the funeral services industry
  • Law enforcement and corrections officers

The Kroger Co.’s full statement about masks in stores:

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.

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. 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.

Additionally, in alignment with CDC guidance, we continue to encourage everyone to practice social distancing and frequent hand washing as well as consider the use of no-touch grocery delivery or low-contact grocery pickup.

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