Kroger is making changes in its stores, effective immediately, to help shoppers get the basics they need and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Kroger spokesperson Erin Rolfes said the biggest change shoppers will see is the closing of all personal-service meat and seafood counters, as well as salad bars.
"You will see closures of our service departments, our meat case, salad bars," Rolfes said. "It's not due to concerns about spreading disease...it is all just to reallocate resources to make sure the shelves are stocked."
She said steaks, seafood, and lunch meat will be sliced and packaged overnight, and placed in coolers for customers to grab.
"There's no change in product, there just won't be someone to hand it to you from behind the counter," she said.
Shorter hours, more endcaps
The changes come just days after Kroger reduced its hours, with Ohio stores opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 9 p.m. to allow for cleaning and restocking.
"Our reduced hours will give our associates extra time to restock the shelves overnight," Rolfes said.
When shoppers visit Kroger stores in the morning, they will see more endcaps stocked with essentials like bottled water and paper towels, making them easier to find.
Rolfes says toilet paper continues to come in from manufacturers and warehouses, and says they are getting it into stores as quickly as possible.
However, certain items will be limited to just 3 per customer, including:
- Cold and flu supplies
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Household cleaning items
"Those product limits are in place, so everyone has a chance to purchase," Rolfes said.
Kroger is exploring the option of early morning hours, she said, but has not made any decision yet.
As a token to employees trying to keep stores stocked, Kroger is giving associates a gift of a $25 gift card.
It will also pay any full-time employees for 14 days if they are forced to quarantine at home.
While other employers are cutting workers right now, Kroger plans to hire 10,000 additional workers in the coming weeks to help stock and clean stores.
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Kroger hopes to have some sense of normalcy return in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the company asks shoppers to shop for one week's worth of groceries at a time, so everyone has a chance to get what they need. That way you don't waste your money.
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