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Kroger requires face masks for employees, launches 'Kroger Pay'

Credit: Kroger grocery store. Signs laid out to display where customers can stand for social distancing.
Credit: Kroger grocery store. Signs laid out to display where customers can stand for social distancing.(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 28, 2020 at 12:36 PM EDT
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Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain, is now requiring all employees to wear face masks.

The change officially went into effect at all Kroger Mid-Atlantic stores on Saturday, April 25, applying to all locations of stores where they weren't already mandated.

The company says they provided masks for all store associates to wear.

In a Tuesday announcement, Kroger also said that they've hired nearly 3,800 new associates since March 22 to meet the growing demand from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To keep stores stocked and support many people unemployed by the effects of coronavirus, Kroger says they still have hundreds more positions immediately available throughout the region, including jobs at retail stores, manufacturing plants, and distribution centers. You can apply at

.

Since March 29, Kroger has been giving all associates a $2 an hour raise they've called a "Hero Bonus."

It came nearly two weeks after Kroger announced a one-time appreciation bonus that was paid at the start of April. That payment came out to $300 for full-time associates and $150 for part-time associates.

In addition to the bonus, Kroger says they gave each associate $25 for groceries, with stores helping provide food for associates too.

The Hero Bonus applies to hours worked through at least May 2.

Kroger says they've also launched a new contactless payment option they're calling Kroger Pay. It allows customers to link their payment information to their Kroger customer loyalty account, through the Kroger app, and then pay at checkout by scanning a QR code from their phone through the plexiglass shield at checkouts or at self-checkouts.

It eliminates the need to use a credit or debit card. You can set Kroger Pay up through the 'More" menu in the Kroger app.

The store says they also have a Helping Hands Fund making more resources available through company-sponsored funds to provide financial assistance to associates who are experiencing a financial hardship.

Kroger has also added a feature for customers to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar to make donations to food banks, including when ordering through Kroger Pickup.

The store says they've donated $250,000 to hunger relief efforts in recent weeks through a variety of product and cash gifts to keep food bank shelves stocked.

"We’re doing whatever we can to respond to the need while also proactively asking our hunger relief partners how we can help,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic. “We know the need is increasing and urgent and we’re committed to being there for our communities in this time of need.”

Stores are collecting non-perishable food items for Feeding America in collection bins at the front of Kroger stores throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

Since April 7, Kroger has been limiting the number of customers in stores to 50% of the international building code’s calculated capacity.

And the company also says they're receiving personal protective equipment for stores and more is on the way. At this point, though Kroger recommends associates wear masks but does not require it.

at Kroger as well.

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