The Kroger Cos. is taking additional measures to encourage physical distancing and flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Beginning April 7, the nation’s largest supermarket 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. (Walmart is also limiting the number of shoppers who can be in its stores at any one time.)
As an illustration, the standard building capacity for a grocery store is one person per 60 square feet. Under Kroger’s new reduced capacity limits, the number will be one person per 120 square feet. Kroger will monitor the number of customers per square foot in its stores using its 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,” said Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief technology and digital officer.
In other protective and preventive measures, Kroger is testing one-way aisles in select markets to determine its effectiveness as a way to further support physical distancing.
It also is encouraging employees to wear protective masks and gloves. Kroger has ordered masks for employees nationwide, with supply starting to arrive in select regions and the anticipation of all locations having supply by the end of this week.
Kroger said it started testing temperature checks in its distribution centers several weeks ago and is beginning to expand temperature checks to store employees. The company said that 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.
Kroger’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 floor decals, along with the airing of a healthy habits message via in-store radio to encourage customers to practice good hygiene and spatial awareness.