Kroger will continue to require masks in its Texas and Mississippi stores, despite both states' announcements that mask mandates will be lifted. Kroger began requiring masks in its stores back in July last summer, saying that it is an easy way to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Now that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he will lift the mask mandate in his state on March 10, and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves made a similar announcement, the grocery giant stepped up to say that masks would still be required in their stores in those states.
"The Kroger Family of Companies’ 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, e-commerce solutions and an efficiently operating supply chain so that our communities have access to fresh food," said a statement from a Kroger spokesperson emailed to TODAY Food.
"To ensure the continued safety of our customers and associates, The Kroger Family of Companies will continue to require everyone in our stores across the country to wear masks until all our frontline grocery associates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We also continue to advocate to federal, state and local officials to prioritize frontline grocery workers for the vaccine rollout plan, and we will offer a$100 one-time payment to associates who receive the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine."
The statement added that Kroger encourages shoppers to abide by guidelines to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19.
"Additionally, in alignment with CDC guidance, 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."
Coronavirus has taken the lives of approximately 44,000 people in Texas and nearly 7,000 in Mississippi. Kroger joins other companies including Target and Macys that despite restrictions being lifted, will still require masks in their stores.