Grocery Store Employees Classified as Emergency Workers in Two States

Minnesota and Vermont started the trend. Will it go national?

Grocery store shoppers stock up during coronavirus outbreak
Grocery store workers are also on the front lines during the Covid-19 national emergency.
Jeremy Hogan/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty

There’s no question that medical workers are on the front lines in the battle against Covid-19, from the doctors to the hospital cleaners, but there’s another group that’s been working overtime in precarious conditions: the employees of your local grocery store.

In Minnesota and Vermont, grocery store employees are getting the support they deserve. As Mother Jones reports, those two states have declared that group of the workforce as “emergency workers.”

“This means the workers hurrying to stock shelves and check out customers in those states will also receive free child care,” writes Mother Jones

In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz included Food Distribution Workers in a new designation of “Essential Tier 2 Workers,” alongside educators, water treatment workers and others. In Vermont, Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling said grocery employees, along with other food supply chain workers, would be deemed essential.

Will the rest of the country follow suit? As various outlets have reported, despite the panic buying that has made headlines, the U.S. food supply is strong. But to keep your grocery store stocked, the people who make that possible need to be supported through services like free child care so they can work while their families are at home during school closures.

These stores have adapted quickly to serve communities across the country, through initiatives like “elderly hours” for high-risk communities, so it only makes sense that the national and state governments adapt to serve these workers.

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