Kroger Offers COVID-19 Tests to Grocery Workers

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Kroger Offers COVID-19 Tests to Grocery Workers

By Thad Rueter - 05/04/2020
Food retailers have expanded their pandemic testing programs
Food retailers are stepping up virus testing efforts

The Kroger Co. will provide free COVID-19 testing to its workers, ramping up the testing already offered by the grocer and other food retailers.

Kroger said that it will test front-line associates “based on symptoms and medical need” via its health care division, Kroger Health. “Tests will be a combination of self-administered kits and the company's public drive-thru testing sites,” the grocer noted. “Kroger Health's expansion to test more associates joins the COVID-19 testing the team has already been supporting in areas with high incident rates.”

Kroger launched its free COVID-19 testing for members of the public in March and expanded the program to more states last month, with 12 states now served by the program. This expansion will allow Kroger Health to conduct as many as 100,000 tests by the end of May, the company previously said.

"At Kroger, the safety and health of our associates and customers remains our top priority during this unprecedented time," said Tim Massa, Kroger's SVP and chief people officer. "Our associates have worked tirelessly to provide communities continued access to fresh, affordable food. We are dedicated to providing support and gratitude to our associates across the country."

In late April, Walmart supported at least 20 testing sites in 12 states, opening more every day. By the end of May, the supermarket chain plans to have more than 100 sites, assuming adequate lab capacity.

In related news, CVS Health recently said that in May, it "will offer self-swab tests to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria." In March, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based drug store chain had started to offer testing at some locations in five states. The new free self-swab testing will take place at up to 1,000 CVS locations by the end of May, which equals more than one in 10 of the company's stores. Patients will schedule tests online and get tested in CVS parking lots or drive-thru windows. The company won't conduct testing inside its stores. CVS said that its goal is to process up to 1.5 million tests monthly.

The new Kroger push to test front-line workers indicates that food retailers are continuing to try to pull more pandemic protection weight during this ongoing outbreak.

Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,769 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.