We have hired 2,000 people due to coronavirus demand

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Kroger has hired more than 2,000 people in the last week to keep up with increased demand from the coronavirus outbreak, CEO Rodney McMullen told CNBC on Tuesday. 

“We’re hiring every day,” McMullen said on “Closing Bell.” 

Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., currently has more than 10,000 openings for positions across plants, warehouses and stores, McMullen said. 

“We have relationships with several different other industries where they’re directing their people to us,” McMullen said. “We have a ton of openings.” 

Kroger, which also owns Harris Teeter and Fred Meyer, has about 460,000 employees, McMullen said. 

Grocers across the U.S. have struggled to keep shelves filled during the coronavirus outbreak as consumers stock up on food and items such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. 

Some chains have limited the number of certain items customers can buy, such as canned food and bread. 

McMullen said Cincinnati-based Kroger has reduced hours at its stores to allow for shelves to be restocked and for additional cleaning.

These steps have been taken by other grocers including Walmart and Stop & Shop, which is owned by Ahold Delhaize. 

Kroger also is testing so-called “senior hours” in a few of its markets, McMullen said. 

Stop & Shop, Dollar General and other retailers have put in place designated times for people who are above a certain age — such as 60 and older — to shop. Older individuals have a higher risk of getting seriously sick from COVID-19. 

“If it works well, then we’ll expand it to other markets as well,” McMullen said. “We think it’s a great idea, and we’re just going to see how many people use it.” 

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