Smith’s Food & Drug, a division of The Kroger Co., today announced the adoption of customer capacity limits to further encourage physical distancing in stores.
Beginning April 7, the retailer will begin to limit the number of customers to 50% of the international building code’s calculated capacity to allow for proper physical distancing in every store.
“Smith’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 Kenny Kimball, President of Smith’s. “During this national pandemic, we are committed to adopting preventive measures to help protect the safety and health of our associates, customers and communities.”
As an illustration, the standard building capacity for a grocery store is 1 person per 60 square feet. Under Smith’s new reduced capacity limits, the number will be 1 person per 120 square feet. Smith’s will begin to monitor the number of customers per square foot in its stores using its industry-leading QueVision technology, which already provides a count of the customers entering and exiting stores.
“By leveraging QueVision, our technology system that uses infrared sensors and predictive analytics, we will be able to more efficiently support our new capacity limits, creating a safer environment for our customers and associates,” continued Kimball.
Smith’s new customer capacity limits joins other measures the retailer has established over the last few weeks to promote physical distancing, including the addition of plexiglass partitions and educational floor decals and airing of a healthy habits message via in-store radio to encourage customers to practice good hygiene and spatial awareness.
Kroger and its affiliates have also recently implemented the following protective and preventive measures:
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.
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 a 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. Smith’s Easter operating hours will be 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.