DENVER — Kroger, which owns Colorado's King Soopers grocery chain, announced on Wednesday that it will begin requiring all customers to wear masks on July 22.
Store employees have been required to wear masks for months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With the increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus," Kroger announced in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
With the increase in #COVID19 cases across the country, we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus. Starting July 22, we will require all customers in all locations to wear a mask, joining our associates who continue to wear masks. pic.twitter.com/r9WPD3QNFa
— Kroger News (@KrogerNews) July 15, 2020
Small children will be exempt from the mask requirement. Customers with medical conditions are encouraged to consider an alternative face covering, such as a face shield. If they are unable to do so, King Soopers is asking them to use the store's pickup service or delivery.
Six King Soopers stores and a King Soopers bakery have had COVID-19 outbreaks among employees, according to state data. Two of the outbreaks remain active. At the store in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood, 13 employees contracted the virus and two died of complications from COVID-19. The outbreak there was resolved in late June, according to state data.
Walmart on Wednesday also announced it would be requiring customers to wear masks inside stores, starting July 20.
While a statewide mask mandate is not in place, Colorado officials have urged residents in recent weeks to wear masks in public, as cases have seen an uptick this summer.
Tri-County Health, which covers Douglas, Arapahoe and Adams counties, issued a mask mandate last week, and the City of Golden also requires masks in public settings.