Kroger Asked the Government to Classify Grocery Workers as Emergency Personnel

Kroger wants to keep its workers—and customers—safe and healthy.

While we all prepare for a few more weeks at home, grocery store employees are still hard at work. In most cases, stores have shorter-than-usual hours and may occasionally be closed for cleaning, but they’re open for business. They’re even taking care of at-risk shoppers with special senior hours.

Plenty of workers are still risking exposure through face-to-face interaction daily. Now, Kroger wants grocery store workers to get the protective gear they need.

Kroger’s Letter to the Government

On Tuesday, Kroger teamed up with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) to release a statement urging the government to consider grocery store workers as first responders or emergency personnel. It’s a temporary measure that would bring supplies to those who have to work closely with crowds. That means gloves, masks and other gear to add a layer of protection during transactions.

Here’s what Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen and UFCW International President Marc Perrone had to say:

Given the significant daily risk these workers face, we are calling on all of our federal and state leaders to take immediate action. Specifically, we are requesting our nation’s leaders to assign a temporary designation of first responder or emergency personnel status for all grocery workers. Make no mistake, this designation is absolutely critical as it will ensure these frontline workers have priority access to personal protection equipment like masks and gloves.

Walmart is taking extra steps to protect its employees, too—here’s how.

How Grocery Stores Are Changing

Right now, grocery stores are adjusting to the COVID-19 climate by rolling out new cleaning regulations. Plexiglass barriers are being placed around registers to promote social distancing. Retailers like Costco and Target are also freezing returns and limiting how many essentials one customer can buy.

You can do your part by staying home. If you still need to stock up, grocery delivery is a fantastic option, and you can do your whole shopping run from the comfort of your couch. Remember: We’ll all get through this together!

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Laurie Dixon
Having a passion for writing her whole life, Laurie joined the Taste of Home team to bring together her two favorite things—creative writing and food. She spends most of her time playing with her dog, drafting up short stories and, of course, trying out new recipes.