Despite new CDC guidance, Kroger will keep mask requirement—for now

((FOX19 NOW))
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 12:40 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Kroger will continue to require that everyone in its stores wear masks, a company spokesperson said Thursday evening.

The news comes on the same day the Centers for Disease Control issued guidance saying all fully vaccinated people can largely ditch their masks.

Businesses are free to require masks on their premises.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain and the third-largest retailer in the world, continues to require masks at all stores in states where the mandates have been lifted.

Besides Kroger stores, the grocer operates several regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, Mariano’s, Fry’s, Smith’s, King Soopers, QFC and others. The company has nearly 2,800 stores that employ nearly 500,000 workers.

The Kroger statement reads in full:

“We appreciate Governor DeWine’s thoughtful approach to distancing and mask restrictions that acknowledge businesses need for continued flexibility to implement safety protocols.

“At this time, The Kroger Family of Companies continues to require everyone in our stores to wear masks. We are encouraging and incentivizing associate vaccinations by offering a $100 one-time payment to associates who receive the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy.

“Additionally, we continue to encourage everyone to practice social distancing and frequent hand washing as well as consider the use of no-touch grocery delivery or low-contact grocery pickup.”

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