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Kroger announced Monday it will limit the number of customers allowed in its stores by 50 percent beginning April 7 in an effort to further encourage social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Kroger's introduction of customer capacity limits is one more way we are doing our part to flatten the curve while operating as an essential business, providing our customers with access to fresh, affordable food and products," said Kroger's senior vice president of operations, Mary Ellen Adcock, in a press release. "During this national pandemic, we are committed to adopting preventive measures to help protect the safety and health of our associates, customers and communities."
The standard building capacity for a grocery store is one person per 60 square feet. Under Kroger's new reduced capacity limits, the number will be one person per 120 square feet.
The company will also begin testing one-way aisles in select locations to determine its effectiveness as a measure to further support physical distancing. Additonally, Kroger will temporarily waive prescription delivery fees and will allow shoppers to use reusable shopping bags, which it has encouraged customers to frequently clean and wipe down to maintain a safe shopping environment.
Kroger's new customer capacity limits is the latest measure by the retailer over the last few weeks to promote physical distancing, including the installation of plexiglass partitions and educational floor decals.
Other measures the company has taken include encouraging employees nationwide to wear protective masks and gloves, which the company has ordered and anticipates fully supplying all locations with by the end of this week; asking all employees to take their temperature prior to coming to work and to stay home if they experience any coronavirus symptoms, and expanding associate temperature checks to its stores.
Under Kroger's expanded COVID-19 emergency leave guidelines, associates self-isolating or experiencing symptoms that are verified by a health care professional are eligible to receive their standard pay for up to two weeks.
On Easter Sunday, Kroger will close early to give associates more time to rest and be with their families.
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Kroger stock closed at $32.63 per share at the end of Monday's trading session.