Questions and Answers
With the increase in COVID-19 cases across the country—as America’s grocer—we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Kroger’s most urgent priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers while meeting our societal obligation to provide open stores, ecommerce solutions and an efficiently operating supply chain so that our communities have access to fresh, affordable food and essentials.
As an employer, grocery provider and community partner, we have a responsibility to help keep our associates, customers and communities safe. According to the CDC, wearing a facial covering, combined with social distancing and frequent handwashing, has been scientifically proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Starting July 22, we will require all customers in all locations to wear a mask when shopping in our stores, joining our associates who continue to wear masks. We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country.
We respect and acknowledge that some customers, due to medical reasons, may not be able to wear a mask (small children are exempt). We encourage those customers to consider an alternative option like a face shield or facial covering. If they’re unable to wear a mask or an alternative design, we request that they use our ecommerce services like pickup or delivery. To support all households during the COVID-19 pandemic, our grocery pickup service remains free (generally a $4.95 fee).
We thank our associates and customers for partnering with us to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
As an essential business, we are committed to doing our part to flatten the curve while providing our customers with access to fresh, affordable food. To further encourage physical distancing, we will begin limiting the number of people in our stores at a time to 50% or more of the building code’s calculated capacity. QueVision, our industry-leading technology system that uses sensors and predictive analytics, will help us to monitor traffic flow in and out of the store.
Over the last few weeks, customers’ shopping patterns and frequency have changed, so we do not anticipate our stores reaching capacity often. When and if it happens, QueVision will alert us and an associate will direct customers to form a line outside the store, encouraging six feet between each customer. As customers exit the store, additional customers will be able to enter the store.
We have set purchase limits on certain categories of items that are in high demand. These purchase limits will also be applied to orders placed on our app or website. This is to ensure that all customers have access to the items they need most.
In some areas, we’re now opening one hour early, to enable senior citizens and other high-risk groups to shop before we open to the public. We’ll continue to evaluate these special hours and make changes as we learn more. You can find the most up-to-date information about your store here.
Our supply chain associates are working tirelessly to replenish our stores daily with the items our customers need most.
We’re making more timeslots available to accommodate the increase in demand for our pickup and delivery services. We’ll continue to monitor and make changes as necessary to make pickup and delivery more accessible for our customers.
Pickup & Delivery: Inventory varies by store and changes throughout the day as customers shop in-store and online. Inventory is not updated in real time. If an item shows that it’s available for pickup or delivery, availability is not guaranteed.
Ship: Our shippable inventory is updated in near-real time. We encourage customers to check our app or website to view item availability.
Unfortunately, our Customer Connect associates do not have insight into item availability. Our app or website is the best source for this information.
The past few weeks have been unprecedented for our country, our associates and our customers. Associates in our stores, warehouses, distribution centers, food production facilities and offices are working around the clock to keep our stores clean, open and stocked.
On March 14, we created a policy allowing paid time off for associates diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed under quarantine. All eligible associates will receive their standard pay for up to 14 days. We have also made additional financial resources available through our Helping Hands fund.
Yes, this option is available at online checkout on delivery orders. Simply choose the Leave at My Door option and check the box next to "I accept that I do not need to be present when my groceries are delivered.”
Due to current and ongoing product availability issues, we are not able to guarantee in-stock conditions on many items. We will not be issuing rain checks on out-of-stock items until further notice. We appreciate your understanding as we work to keep your store clean, open and stocked to the best of our abilities during this time.
Preparedness, Store Conditions and Products
Our task force has coordinated organizational activities to help our business navigate through this public health event and quickly activate our COVID-19 preparedness plan. We also continue to partner with and follow guidance from federal, state and local agencies, including the CDC and other health organizations.
Our associates are working to ensure our in-store, pickup, delivery and ship services are operational and available to customers.
We appreciate the concern and care our customers are expressing for senior shoppers and higher-risk customers. All customers deserve to have access to affordable, fresh food and essentials. We're offering special hours for senior shoppers in several cities across the country. We have also been inspired to see local communities working together to shop on behalf of seniors and other higher-risk customers.
We are asking our customers be patient, to be kind to one another and our associates, and to shop responsibly and purchase what you need, knowing that we will continue to replenish stores daily with the supplies and products our customers need most.
Starting April 24, the Kroger Family of Companies is supporting the CARES Act by temporarily waiving the check-cashing fee for government-issued checks.
Our purpose is to Feed the Human Spirit, and we are always here for our customers and communities when they need us most, especially in times of uncertainty.
We have experienced an increase in demand for our pickup service as customers seek alternative ways to shop for groceries. So, starting March 23, we are temporarily waiving our pickup service fee nationwide (a value of $4.95), with no minimum order threshold. Because of the surge, our customers may experience limited inventory options and longer wait times than usual. We appreciate our customers’ understanding as we work tirelessly to serve the community during this unprecedented time.
The Kroger Family of Companies has rolled out the acceptance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for Pickup across the country, with an estimated completion by the end of April. The low-contact, convenient service allows customers to shop online for groceries and pick up their order curbside.
How Pickup Works:
- Choose your preferred store location online or via the app
- Shop and place your order for groceries online or via the app
- Select a pickup date and time and SNAP/EBT as the payment method. If you’re using an EBT card, you’ll present your payment method at the time of pick up
- An associate shops for your order
- When it’s time to pick up your order, look for the pickup signs in the store’s parking lot and pull into your parking spot then call the number on the sign to let an associate know you’ve arrived
- An associate will bring your order out and load it into your car. At this time, EBT card customers can complete their transaction via a mobile point-of-sale system and pay for ineligible EBT purchases or any remaining balance with their debit or credit card
We continue to experience an increase in demand for our pickup service as customers seek alternative ways to shop for groceries. To support the increase, Kroger introduced its first pickup-only location in Cincinnati on March 25.
Customers can select the Mt. Carmel Kroger (4630 Aicholtz Road, Cincinnati) as their preferred pickup location when placing their order on kroger.com or through the app. Pickup will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. As the location will no longer offer in-store shopping, associates will be fully focused on fulfilling pickup orders. The store’s pharmacy will remain open and customers can speak directly with health care staff or pick up prescriptions.
To help customers shop safely and quickly, we are in the process of rolling out the improved Scan, Bag, Go mobile app nationwide. Customers using the feature can bring their clean reusable bags to the store where permissible – or use bags available at the store – to shop, scan and bag their groceries as they go. When a customer completes their shopping trip, they can pay with their phone, allowing them to bypass the traditional checkout process.
Kroger Pay is another capability within the mobile app that provides a contactless payment solution, simplifying the checkout and payment process for customers. The capability is available in several markets.
We also offer a no-contact delivery option, low-contact pickup service and ship-to-home offering for pantry essentials.
We have implemented product purchase limits on highly popular products to help ensure all our customers have access to them. Our manufacturing plants and suppliers are working tirelessly to help replenish our inventories.
We are committed to customers having access to fresh and affordable food. Because of increased demand and limited inventory of some products, customers may experience price increases on commodities like eggs and meat.
We continue to allow our customers to use reusable shopping bags, provided there is not a state or local ordinance that prohibits use.
The health and wellbeing of our associates, customers and communities is our top priority. The CDC has not provided guidance that food is a vehicle for virus transmission. If the CDC provides new guidance, we will follow it.
Most of our products are domestically sourced. Additionally, there’s no evidence at this time of any coronavirus diagnoses related to imported goods.
It’s too early to tell the effect on our business. The event is not currently included in our guidance for 2020. Relative to others in the market we have limited supply chain exposure in China as most of the product we source is domestic.
The Kroger Co. has recently provided new career opportunities to more than 100,000 workers nationwide, including those from the hardest-hit sectors like restaurants, hotels and food service distributors. We plan to hire additional workers over the next several weeks to help us to continue to provide fresh food and useful supplies to communities across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Candidates may apply via jobs.kroger.com and could be placed for employment within several days of applying. Kroger’s average hourly wage is $15 an hour. And with comprehensive benefits factored in, our average hourly rate is over $20.
Health and Wellbeing
On March 21, we announced a one-time bonus for every hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associate, amounting to $300 for every full-time associate and $150 for every part-time associate.
On March 31, we announced an additional Hero Bonus for all hourly frontline associates – a $2 premium above their standard base rate of pay, applied to hours worked March 29 through April 18. The premium will be disbursed weekly to ensure associates have access to additional cash.
On April 16, we announced the extension of our Hero Bonus for all hourly frontline associates through May 2.
On May 1, we extended our Hero Bonus for all hourly frontline associates through May 16.
On May 15, we announced a new $130 million investment in Thank You Pay for all hourly frontline associates, amounting to $400 for qualified full-time associates and $200 for qualified part-time associates. Thank You Pay will be disbursed in two installments on May 30 and June 18.
We are taking these steps to protect our customers and associates:
In Our Stores
- Cleaning commonly used areas more often, including cashier stations, self-checkouts, credit card terminals, conveyor belts and food service counters, and cleaning shelves when restocking products.
- Sanitizing restrooms more frequently and restocking with supplies, including soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer.
- Adding extra hand sanitizer at cashier stations, food service counters, and all Pharmacy, The Little Clinic and Starbucks locations.
- Wiping down shopping carts, baskets and equipment.
- Partnering with our suppliers to replenish high-demand preparedness products.
- Continuing to provide our customers with free disinfectant wipes at our store entrances to sanitize their shopping carts or baskets.
- Expanding contact-free payment solutions like Scan, Bag, Go and Kroger Pay.
- Offering a no-contact delivery option, low-contact pickup service and ship-to-home orders.
- Maintaining industry-leading best practices for safe food handling.
- Airing a healthy habits message via in-store radio to encourage customers to practice good hygiene and social distancing.
- Testing one-way aisles in select markets to its effectiveness as a measure to further support physical distancing.
- Limiting the number of customers in our stores to no more than 50% of the building’s maximum capacity. In areas where mandated, we will follow the local and/or state agency’s guidance.
For Our Customers
- Encouraging our customers and associates to follow the CDC's suggested hygiene practices to reduce the spread of the virus.
- Recommending that our customers also practice safe food handling at home.
- Encouraging customers to wear masks in stores, or alternatively, use ecommerce services.
For Our Associates
- Supplying and requiring our associates to wear protective masks.
- Joining the UFCW in calling on federal and state government leaders to take swift action to designate associates at grocery stores as "extended first responders" or "emergency personnel" to help receive priority access to protective masks and other benefits.
- Continuing the use of plexiglass partitions and physical distancing floor decals to promote physical distancing at check lanes and other counters.
- Encouraging our associates to closely monitor their health and if they exhibit flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue) at work, they should go home and contact their doctor. If an associate has flu-like symptoms at home, they should not come to work.
- Continuing to enact our Emergency Leave Guidelines, allowing paid time off for associates diagnosed with COVID-19, placed under mandatory quarantine by their medical provider because of COVID-19 and paid time off for self-isolation and symptoms as verified by an accredited health care professional. All eligible associates will receive their standard pay for up to two weeks (14 days).
- Offering $5 million through the Kroger Family of Companies Helping Hands fund to provide financial assistance to associates who face hardship due to COVID-19, including childcare costs.
- Providing access to mental health services and other benefits to support associates' mental and physical well-being during this stressful time. We’re also offering an associate hotline to ensure benefit questions are answered quickly.
- Extending our work-from-home policy for all associates in our corporate and division offices until at least May 31. We will continue to closely evaluate and adjust our policies accordingly. When the time is right to safely reopen our offices, it will be through a phased approach.
- Offering COVID-19 testing to associates based on symptoms and medical need.
- Providing comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare coverage and retirement benefits.
As an essential business, we’ve been balancing our most urgent priority to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers with open stores, ecommerce solutions and an efficiently operating supply chain, so that our communities always have access to fresh, affordable food and products.
We have provided masks for all our store associates to wear, and starting on April 26, we’ll be requiring associates to wear them, in locations where they are not already mandated. Our associates are also welcome to bring their own suitable masks or facial coverings to work, if they prefer.
We recognize that some associates, due to medical reasons or other circumstances, may not be able to wear a mask. Such situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. We are sourcing face shields to provide to those associates and will also explore other potential options, as needed.
We also continue to enhance our daily sanitation practices, including cleaning commonly used areas more often like cashier stations, self-checkouts, credit card terminals, food service counters and shelves.
We’ve installed plexiglass partitions at many check lanes, including pharmacy and Starbucks registers, to further promote physical distancing. In addition, we’ve installed educational floor decals to promote physical distancing at check lanes and other counters.
Additionally, we’ve adjusted store operating hours across the country to allow more time for our associates to rest, clean and replenish inventory.
We believe all these steps will help to ensure the safety of our associates and help our communities to flatten the curve while at the same time meeting our obligation to be there for our customers.
Because many of our pharmacy or The Little Clinic customers may be visiting us for treatment of an illness, or to fill a prescription for one, our clinics and pharmacies are kept on separate air filtration systems from the rest of the store, which safeguards against germs potentially being spread around the rest of the store, and keeps fresh air circulating throughout. In addition, pharmacies and clinics are always set apart from fresh food areas, such as produce, bakery, and meat and seafood.
All our pharmacists, technicians, clinicians, and patient care technicians follow the strictest rules of infection control. All pharmacies and clinics are cleaned routinely throughout the day with hospital grade sanitation products. During times of extraordinary concern, additional measures are taken.
On April 27, Kroger Health announced plans to expand its drive-thru COVID-19 testing model to 50 locations in more than 12 states to perform up to 100,000 tests by the end of May.
As of May 27, we have formed partnerships with local and state offices and groups in 13 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) to support drive-thru COVID-19 testing.
Americans can access Kroger Health’s free virtual screening tool to determine if testing is appropriate for them and identify available, dates and locations at krogerhealth.com/covidtesting.
On May 4, we announced the continued protection of our frontline associates by making free COVID-19 testing available, based on symptoms and medical need. Learn more here.
As of May 27, Kroger Health has performed more than 57,000 tests.
We are encouraging our associates to closely monitor their health and take their temperature at home prior to coming to work. If they experience symptoms, including a fever, they are encouraged to contact their doctor and stay home. Under our expanded COVID-19 emergency leave guidelines, associates self-isolating or experiencing symptoms as verified by an accredited health care professional are eligible to receive their standard pay for up to two weeks (14 days).
We started testing temperature checks in our supply chain (distribution centers) several weeks ago and have now expanded associate temperature checks to our stores. We are following local ordinances in cities that mandate employee temperature checks. Associates may also request to have their temperature taken at work.
We have installed plexiglass partitions at many cash registers, to further promote physical distancing. In addition, we have added educational floor decals to promote physical distancing at check lanes and other counters. We also encourage our customers to practice physical distancing while navigating the shopping aisles. In some cities, we are testing one-way aisles.
The Kroger Co. has enacted Emergency Leave Guidelines, allowing paid time off for associates diagnosed with COVID-19, placed under mandatory quarantine and paid time off for self-isolation and symptoms as verified by an accredited health care professional. All eligible associates will receive their standard pay for up to two weeks (14 days).
For those affected by COVID-19, the organization has also made available additional resources through our Helping Hands fund to provide financial assistance to associates who face hardship due to COVID-19, including lack of access to childcare and for those considered higher-risk.
Our stores are coordinating closely with local health departments when we learn of positive COVID-19 cases in our employee base and taking immediate action to support and safeguard our associates and customers. We are acutely aware and responding to the safety needs of our associates across our family of companies.
We will continue to work closely with federal, state and local public health authorities as they work to coordinate our country‘s response to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.
At this time, we have extended the suspension of commercial air travel through May 31. We will continue to closely monitor events and adjust our guidance accordingly. In lieu of traveling, we recommend our associates use video or audio conference tools for internal meetings as well as with suppliers and partners.
The Kroger Family of Companies is also uplifting communities in a variety of ways during this unprecedented time, including:
- The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation has committed more than $8 million to support our neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants are funding local food banks and ensuring children with school closures have access to nutritious meals. Learn more about our community contributions in our recent press release.
- You can join us in our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste mission by donating today to our Emergency COVID-19 Response Fund either online or by rounding up your purchase to the nearest dollar or committing $1, $5 or $10.
- Starting April 24, the Kroger Family of Companies is supporting the CARES Act by temporarily waiving the check-cashing fee for government-issued checks.
On April 1, The Kroger Co. filed its annual report on Form 10-K and announced business updates in response to the impact from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). More information can be found in our newsroom.
On April 21, we published the first installment of Sharing What We’ve Learned: A Blueprint for Businesses, available at KrogerBlueprint.com.
Our Blueprint is intended to be a resource for businesses of all sizes and sectors of the economy, providing recommendations, insights, best practices and downloadable creative assets to help businesses navigate the next phase of this unprecedented pandemic.
We will continue to add new information to the Blueprint in the coming days and weeks, so when the timing is right for businesses to safely reopen, we’re all prepared to keep our communities safe and supported, together.