Kroger is stepping up its coronavirus response by converting a Cincinnati store into a curbside pickup-only location, according to Business Insider. The supermarket chain is testing this concept in response to rapidly growing demand for online grocery services amid the pandemic.
The pickup-only store will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, while the other five Kroger stores in the area will remain open to the public. The strategy is expected to offer three benefits:
- Making it easier for associates to rapidly fill online orders rather than man the register or stock shelves;
- Giving employees more space to socially distance to prevent transmission between each other; and
- Reducing the number of people entering the store to cut the risk of spreading infection to the public.
“The pickup-only model is ideal for all customers, especially for senior and higher-risk shoppers,” said Erin Rolfes, Corporate Affairs Manager of Kroger’s Cincinnati-Dayton division in an interview with Business Insider.
Kroger also is taking other steps to protect and reward its associates. Kroger is:
- Installing plexiglass shields at all of its cash registers and allowing employees to wear masks and gloves on the job;
- Offering two weeks of paid time off to employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19; and
- Providing a one-time bonus of $300 for every full-time associate and $150 for every part-time associate working hourly in grocery, supply chain, manufacturing or customer service.
“Grocery workers are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Rodney McMullen, CEO of Kroger in a statement. “Our associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers. I am incredibly grateful for all they are doing. The true heroes in this story are our associates, and we want to provide them with additional resources and support to help them continue their remarkable effort.”