Minnesota, Vermont Designate Grocery Store Workers as Emergency Personnel

By Victor Westerkamp

Grocery store workers are now considered emergency personnel in Minnesota and Vermont, making them eligible for certain benefits like free child care.

Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz signed on March 13 an Emergency Executive Order 20-02 (pdf), directing schools to provide free child care services for children, aged 12 and under, of emergency workers deemed essential in combatting the spread of the CCP virus.

NTD refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

walmart worker
An employee restocks a shelf in the grocery section of a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Grocery store workers are now considered emergency personnel in Minnesota and Vermont amidst the CCP virus wave that sweeps the world (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The executive order came with a guidance (pdf) that broadened the definition for emergency personnel to include a category of “Emergency Tier 2” workers.

Those under the Tier 2 category include store clerks, stockers, food preparation workers, cleaning staff, deli and produce staff, as well as those in the food distribution industry including drivers, order selectors, forklift loaders, IT personnel, mechanics, and sanitation workers.

“Districts should make every effort to provide care for school-age children of workers in the areas below if they are able to do so while adhering to the Minnesota Department of Health’s social distancing guidelines,” it continued.

The decision was well-received by the Minnesota Groceries Organization.

“This allows frontline workers childcare as they serve and feed Minnesotans. Thank you, @GovTimWalz, for supporting our industry during this challenging time!” the organization said on Twitter.

Similarly, Vermont Governor Phil Scott on March 17 directed day care centers across the state to cease normal operations but continue to exclusively provide service to workers deemed essential. He also ordered schools to provide childcare for “essential persons” working in response to the crisis.

“Teachers, childcare providers and school support staff are going to be as critical to our response as our doctors, nurses and healthcare support staff,” said Scott. “That’s why, even as we ask the public to step back to help slow the spread of this virus, we are asking others, including our educators and child care providers, to step in and provide a critical service so those who are on the frontlines of our response can continue to care for the sick, protect the public and manage this evolving challenge. I am incredibly proud of the selflessness of these public servants at this time of need.”

Those people include healthcare providers and most people working in the medical industry, criminal justice personnel, public health employees, firefighters, Vermont National Guard personnel called to duty, other first responders.

On March 18, public safety commissioner Michael Schirling said at a presser that those working in food distribution and retail would also be considered “essential persons.”