Following in the footsteps of Walmart and Sam's Club, Kroger, one of the largest grocery chains in the state, will now require guests to wear masks at all of its locations nationwide, including ones in Williamson and Maury County. 

The mask requirement will begin next week on Wednesday, July 22.

Kroger representatives said in a statement Wednesday that they encourage those who cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons or otherwise to consider using a face shield or covering instead, or to use the store's pickup or delivery options.

"As an employer, grocery provider and community partner, we have a responsibility to help keep our associates, customers and communities safe," reads the statement. "We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country."

While Williamson County issued a mask mandate earlier this month, Maury County has issued no such mandate, meaning that up to this point, guests at the Kroger on Port Royal Road in Spring Hill were not required to wear masks.

Starting next week on Wednesday, though, guests at the Kroger on Port Royal will be required to wear masks by the store itself. 

Kroger aids Second Harvest

Staff Reports from the Nashville Post

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is distributing more than 1 million pounds of food a week — a 40 percent increase compared to the mark of this time last year. 

According to a release, the Kroger Co. Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation is supporting several SHFB summer food program sites needed due to tornado damage in March and financial hardships caused by COVID-19. The foundation has contributed $175,000 to the cause.

Second Harvest CEO Nancy Keil said the nonprofit has “seen a surge in demand during these unprecedented times.”

A portion of the $175,000 included donations made at checkout by customers and associates. In addition to the summer feeding sites, funding will be used to assist the food bank with its ongoing COVID-19 response efforts throughout Middle and West Tennessee.

SHFB has established 22 summer feeding sites across 16 counties in Middle and West Tennessee. Kroger is supporting 15 of 22 feeding sites in Davidson, Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Montgomery, Putnam, Rutherford, Sumner, Warren and Wilson counties.

“We have partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee for over 35 years and fully support their mission of ending food insecurity in our communities,” Melissa Eads, corporate affairs manager for the Kroger Nashville division, said in the release.  “They have always done great work, but what they have been doing these last several months to support so many affected by the March tornadoes and COVID-19 has been remarkable.  Through our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan we are committed to ending hunger in our communities and eliminating waste.”