The list of frontline essential workers includes Chicago-area grocery store employees as of Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Under Phase 1B of Illinois’ vaccination rollout, they join employees working at food processing plants. Previously, the phase placed attention on those 65 and older and health care workers.
Phase 1B Illinois vaccination rollout includes food and agriculture employees, educators, public transit workers, first responders, and Illinois residents age 65 and over. There is an online guide that the city offers with details for eligible Chicagoans to find the vaccine.
Due to the limited doses available and providers administering the shots, Phase 1B is expected to extend into March.
Grocery store employees were looked upon as pandemic heroes last spring. They endured unhealthy exposure to the public and unwarranted harassment from customers for nearly a year.
Heavy criticism of delivery company Instacart for recently laying off every employee who voted to unionize. Instacart’s layoffs affected close to 2,000 of its 10,000 grocery store employees.
Large grocery store chains have been criticized for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But plans are in the works for an unnamed 45,000 square-foot grocery store in Lincoln Square at Lawrence and Western.
This has had an alarming effect among independent operators believing an Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods will come in and dominate the market in the area. A loophole has been discovered by developers that will allow for construction.
The owner of HarvesTime Foods on Lawrence Avenue told reporters that the addition of a corporate store in this area would be like an atom bomb to small businesses like his. Developer Hubbard Street Group nor Amazon Fresh would reveal what brand will occupy the space. Gene’s Sausage Shop around the corner will also be impacted.
Written by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Eater Chicago: Grocery Store Workers Can Now Register for COVID-19 Vaccines, Naomi Waxman
ABC News: Grocery store workers considered next in line to receive COVID-19 vaccine, Mya Johnson
CBS News: Public comment shifts grocery workers to be next in line for vaccine, Gabriella Rusk
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Noaman Ali’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Jo Zimny’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License