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Kroger returning Mid-Atlantic stores to normal operating hours

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: Jun. 12, 2020 at 1:34 PM EDT
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This weekend, all Kroger stories in our area will return to their normal operating hours.

Since mid-March, like almost all grocery stores in the country, Kroger has been running on adjusted hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow more time for employees to clean, sanitize, and stock supplies.

But starting this Sunday, June 14, Kroger Mid-Atlantic plans to get back to normal hours across Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio.

That means stores will open 6 a.m. every day and close at 10 p.m., 11 p.m., or midnight, depending on the particular store. You can check the

.

Pharmacy hours will remain the same and fuel centers will open at 6 a.m. and close at 10 or 11 p.m., depending on the store.

For the time-being, senior and high-risk shopping hours established early in the pandemic will remain in place, but will be extended from 6 to 8 a.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays each week.

“The health, safety and well-being of our associates, customers and communities remains our top priority,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic. “The expanded hours will allow for more social distancing of our customers. We will still utilize the same stringent sanitation requirements throughout our locations and ask that customers continue to practice social distancing and wear masks while shopping.”

Kroger says they have the following protective measures in place across all stores:

  • Limiting store capacity
  • Enhanced daily sanitation, including cart sanitation
  • Plexiglass barriers at registers
  • Social distancing decals to encourage social distancing
  • Sanitizer stations throughout stores
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves and face shields provided for associates
  • Associate temperature monitoring
  • Continuing to expand curbside pickup and delivery services, as well as contactless payment solutions like Kroger Pay

While not a Kroger policy, in Virginia, masks are required for everyone inside grocery stores through

.

Kroger Mid-Atlantic says they have directed nearly $450,000 to hunger relief efforts since the start of the pandemic, through a variety of product and cash gifts sent to food banks and food pantries.

The company says they've also donated $5 million to associates so far in 2020 through their Helping Hands Fund, a program created to financially assist associates during times of hardship due to an unexpected or emergency situation, like COVID-19.

Of the 110 stores in the Mid-Atlantic Division, 174 associates from 68 stores requested and received support from Helping Hands.

“Especially throughout the pandemic, the Helping Hands Fund is another way we let our associates know that we’re there for them for many of the hardships they’re facing and we understand that everyone needs a hand every now and then,” said Paula Ginnett, president of Kroger Mid-Atlantic.

In addition to the Helping Hands Fund, Kroger says they have invested more than $800 million to "reward and safeguard associates" since March, including hero pay, appreciation pay and thank you pay bonuses paid to hourly full-time and part-time associates.

The grocer equipped all stores with plexiglass barriers, social distancing decals and sanitizers and purchased personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves and face shields.

“Keeping our associates and customers safe is our top priority when they’re in our stores. This investment is worth every penny and we’re incredibly grateful for the dedication and service our associates have shown up with every day,” said Ginnett.

However, the store

, sparking calls from unions for them to reinstate the additional $2 an hour through the entirety of the pandemic.

Earlier this week, workers at several Virginia and West Virginia Krogers

.

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