The retailers and grocery chains that have remained open amid the coronavirus pandemic have struggled with how to operate. Safe operation requires social distancing and taking sensible actions to limit interaction between people.

Slowly, these chains have adopted rules that limit how many people can be in a store at any given time. Now, Kroger (NYSE:KR) has joined Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), and a number of other retailers in putting customer capacity rules into effect.

A shopping cart in a grocery aisle.

Rules are being put in place to limit how many people are in stores. Image source: Getty Images.

What is Kroger doing?

Every chain has adopted slightly different rules. Walmart is allowing no more than five people per 1,000 square feet, roughly 20% of each store's capacity. Target is varying capacities based on the square footage of each location.

Kroger is limiting the number of customers to "50% of the international building code's calculated capacity to allow for proper physical distancing in every store," according to a press release. The standard Kroger store capacity is one person per 60 square feet. Under these new guidelines, the number will be one person per 120 square feet.

"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 Kroger Senior Vice President Mary Ellen Adcock in a press release.

The new normal

While rules like this would have seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago, the coronavirus pandemic has forced retailers to adapt. Kroger, Target, and Walmart are adapting on the fly, doing what needs to be done as new information and medical recommendations become available.