National Kroger grocery stores are asking for the U.S. government to help it supply masks and gloves for its workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Health care workers and other employees who don't have the option to work from home amid recommended social isolation measures have been finding it difficult to obtain gloves and masks that would help them stay safe amid a shortage of the materials, prompting Kroger officials to ask the government to step in and protect its employees.
"Our associates are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food, services and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic. We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our associates," a Kroger spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. "We’ve let our associates know they are permitted to wear protective masks and gloves. There is a national shortage of personal protective equipment like this, and we fully support America’s health care workers having first priority to obtain the equipment they need. We are advocating to government officials at all levels for help securing a priority place in line for all grocery workers — after health care workers — to have access to protective masks and gloves."
Kroger previously announced Saturday that it will be providing a one-time bonus to every hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service worker — $300 for every full-time employee and $150 for every part-time employee. The company is also offering paid 14-day leave to employees who experience symptoms of COVID-19 and are self-isolating.
Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO said in a press release, "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."
"In every decision we make, we strive to balance our most urgent mission – to be here for our communities when they need us most – with ensuring the safety of our associates, customers and communities," he continued.
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