Kroger informed employees over the weekend that its first workers have tested positive for the new coronavirus as an outbreak hits America.
Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said the employees worked in subsidiary supermarkets in Western states: a King Soopers associate in Colorado and Fred Meyer associate in Washington.
“Both Associates are receiving medical care and are recovering. We are supporting them and wish them all the best in their recovery,” McMullen wrote in an undated note sent internally on Saturday.
McMullen said the afflicted workers’ stores were scrubbed down under guidelines by local and state health experts. Both stores remain open to serve the crush of customers seeking to restock their homes.
Kroger now offers emergency paid sick leave to workers who test positive for the coronavirus or placed in mandatory quarantine by their doctors or health officials, McMullen said. All affected workers will get their full pay for up to two weeks. After that, short-term disability benefits may become available.
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McMullen thanked workers and urged them to continue to follow health guidelines as well as help customers in stressful times.
“Our customers and communities are counting on us. In times of uncertainty, the Kroger family of companies is here,” McMullen said.
Kroger employs more than 460,000 workers in 35 states. The company is the nation’s largest supermarket chain. Besides Kroger stores, the grocer operates several regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, Mariano’s, Fry’s, Smith’s, King Soopers, QFC and others.
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