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Harris Teeter to limit number of shoppers in stores to encourage social distancing

The plan will limit the number of customers in Harris Teeter stores to help stop the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Grocery chain Kroger has released its plan to limit the number of shoppers inside stores to encourage social distancing amid the coroanvirus pandemic. This includes North Carolina-based Harris Teeter, which has supermarkets in the Carolinas, Virginia and Southeast. 

Beginning Wednesday, April 8, Harris Teeter will limit the number of customers to half of what's normally allowed in stores. Typically, it would be one customer per 60 square feet, that standard is now one customer per 120 square feet. 

The plan is being put in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. This is an additional step after stores added special hours for senior shoppers and began offering bonuses for employees during the outbreak.

Harris Teeter employees will monitor the number of customers inside stores to ensure the capacity limit is maintained.The Matthews-based chain has dozens of stores in the Charlotte area and is one of the biggest supermarket names in the Southeast.

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“Kroger’s introduction of customer capacity limits is one more way we are doing our part to flatten the curve while operating as an essential business, providing our customers with access to fresh, affordable food and products,” said Mary Ellen Adcock, Kroger’s senior vice president of operations.

“During this national pandemic, we are committed to adopting preventive measures to help protect the safety and health of our associates, customers and communities.”

Kroger also announced it has implemented the following, according to a release from the company:

Protective Face Masks and Gloves for Associates

The Kroger Family of Companies is encouraging associates to wear protective masks and gloves. The retailer has ordered masks for associates nationwide, with supply starting to arrive in select regions and the anticipation of all locations having supply by the end of this week.

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Associate Wellness Checks

The Kroger Family of Companies is asking associates to closely monitor their health and take their temperature at home prior to coming to work. If they experience symptoms, including a fever, they are encouraged to contact their health care provider and stay home. Under its expanded COVID-19 emergency leave guidelines, associates self-isolating or experiencing symptoms as verified by an health care professional are eligible to receive their standard pay for up to two weeks (14 days).

The retailer started testing temperature checks in its distribution centers several weeks ago and is beginning to expand associate temperature checks to stores. Kroger and its affiliates are following local ordinances in cities or counties that mandate employee temperature checks, and associates may also request to have their temperature taken at work.

Piloting One-Way Aisles in Select Markets

The Kroger Family of Companies has started to test one-way aisles in select markets to determine its effectiveness as a measure to further support physical distancing.

Waived Prescription Delivery Fees

The Kroger Family of Pharmacies is temporarily waiving fees for prescription delivery via mail or courier. To learn more about the options and availability, customers should contact their local pharmacy location.

Continuing Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Commitment

As part of Kroger’s commitment to end hunger and eliminate waste in its communities by 2025, the retailer continues to allow its customers to use reusable shopping bags, provided there is not a state or local ordinance that prohibits use. The retailer encourages its customers to frequently clean and wipe down their reusable shopping bags to help maintain a safe shopping environment.

Reduced Holiday Hours

The Kroger Family of Companies is closing early on Easter Sunday, April 12, to provide its associates with more time to rest and be with their families. Holiday operating hours will vary by location and market.