Coronavirus: Kroger ‘strongly encourages’ customers to wear masks

Kroger is joining a list of retailers updating their mask guidelines as a highly contagious form of the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread.

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Kroger will now require all employees regardless of vaccination status to wear a mask and is “strongly encouraging” customers to wear face coverings in stores as well, WKYT reported.

The highly transmissible delta variant is driving infection rates across the country and on Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on mask wearing. Health officials recommend that fully vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission.

“In light of the Delta variant and updated CDC recommendations, we strongly encourage all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask when in our stores and facilities,” Kroger spokeswoman Erin Grant said in a statement.

Kroger, with stores in 35 states, is the country’s largest grocery chain. It joins a growing list of retailers changing mask requirements.

>> Coronavirus: Publix employees must wear masks again starting Monday

Publix Super Markets, which operates stores in seven states, said employees will be required to wear masks, whether or not they are vaccinated, starting Monday.

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Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, has also said employees will start wearing masks again starting Monday.

The requirements are for employees. Customers are urged, but not required, to wear masks as well.