Kroger employees now required to wear face masks to combat COVID-19

Kroger announced a new policy requiring employees to wear face masks.

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Kroger announced a new policy requiring employees to wear face masks.

The grocery chain Kroger announced that it is adding new safety measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including making it mandatory for employees to wear face masks.

The company said in a statement Sunday that a new policy will require employees to wear masks and facial coverings in its Georgia, South Carolina and eastern Alabama stores.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS

“Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed our lives dramatically,” Corporate Affairs Manager Felix Turner said. “Our associates are on the front lines when it comes to ensuring customers have access to fresh food and supplies. Their safety has and will remain top priority.”

The grocer said it has a supply of surgical masks for employees to use. It is not clear how many masks are available.

Kroger’s change in policy comes after the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevented provided new guidance on face masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC now says people should cover their faces when in public spaces where social distancing is not possible, such as in grocery stores.

» RELATED: Walmart to require employees to wear face masks Monday

Retail giant Walmart announced a similar policy Friday. In a letter to employees, the grocer said all U.S. associates will be required to wear facial coverings starting Monday, and encouraged customers to do the same.

Publix will also require its employees to wear face coverings starting Monday, according to a statement.

» MORE: Grocery stores debut new safety regs, but some want more protections

“We are providing face coverings for all of our associates and plastic gloves for customer service and pharmacy associates, until our supplies are depleted,” the statement said. “At that time, associates are required to provide their own face covering, and customer service and pharmacy associates may use their personal supply of gloves.”

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