As state officials discuss reopening after what they hope to be the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, Kroger (NYSE:KR) has decided to share what it learned handling COVID-19 in its own locations with other retailers thinking of opening their doors again. The advice is presented in a 17-page PDF on the grocery and drugstore chain's corporate website.
The guide suggests companies use as many different communication channels as possible -- from printed signs to public address announcements -- to educate both employees and shoppers about hygiene and social distancing practices.
Kroger also says the extra workers it has added to its workforce form a key part of its strategy, because the higher number of workers allows employees to take time for washing hands, cleaning workstations, and washing down checkouts, shelves, and carts, without slowing down operations. Kroger also said frequently rotating frontline workers such as checkout personnel allows them to wash their hands more often.
While many of the recommendations are fairly obvious, the company also suggests some less straightforward steps. It recommends cross-training employees where possible so that if people in one department get sick, others can easily step in to handle their jobs. Kroger also recommends spreading out store deliveries so large numbers of truckers and restocking personnel don't gather at one time, and urging suppliers to follow enhanced safety protocols, too.
In the blueprint's introduction, Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen notes the recommendations aren't necessarily universal because of the wide range of business types and situations across the U.S. He concludes: "What worked for us may not work for you. And while there is no 'one thing' that makes all the difference, taking a holistic approach to safety will lead to better outcomes."