Kroger (NYSE:KR), busy building out its COVID-19 drive-thrpugh testing facilities, is also instituting a testing regime for the frontline workers in the many supermarkets it operates. The company announced that such diagnostics would be available free of charge to its "associates."
The tests will be administered by Kroger Health, the healthcare arm of the big company. They will be performed either using self-administered kits, or the drive-through facilities customers use.
The news comes after reports of numerous COVID-19 cases among the company's frontline workers. In California's Los Angeles County, the local Department of Health listed Kroger's Ralph's supermarket in Hollywood as having 21 cases as of the evening of Sunday, May 3 -- the highest number within its "congregate settings with five or more positive COVID-19 cases" category.
In addition to testing, Kroger is also taking other steps to keep active employees healthy. It said it boosted its spending on personal protective equipment, placed decals on its floors to maintain proper social distancing guidelines, and installed plexiglass guards at checkout counters. The company also said its Helping Hands fund is disbursing monies to workers affected by the disease.
"The resilience of the Kroger family is unparalleled, and we're doing all we can to keep our team healthy and safe. The widespread availability of diagnostic testing will now allow our associates to feel more empowered and knowledgeable about their health, creating safer stores and facilities," Kroger said in its press release detailing the latest measures.
On Monday, Kroger shares closed the day 1.8% higher, beating the gains of rival consumer goods equities and the wider stock market.